Connexin Gap Junctions and Hemichannels Link Oxidative Stress to Skeletal Physiology and Pathology

Rui Hua, Jingruo Zhang, Manuel A. Riquelme, Jean X. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: The goal of this review is to provide an overview of the impact and underlying mechanism of oxidative stress on connexin channel function, and their roles in skeletal aging, estrogen deficiency, and glucocorticoid excess associated bone loss. Recent Findings: Connexin hemichannel opening is increased under oxidative stress conditions, which confers a cell protective role against oxidative stress-induced cell death. Oxidative stress acts as a key contributor to aging, estrogen deficiency, and glucocorticoid excess-induced osteoporosis and impairs osteocytic network and connexin gap junction communication. Summary: This paper reviews the current knowledge for the role of oxidative stress and connexin channels in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis and physiological and pathological responses of connexin channels to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress decreases osteocyte viability and impairs the balance of anabolic and catabolic responses. Connexin 43 (Cx43) channels play a critical role in bone remodeling, mechanotransduction, and survival of osteocytes. Under oxidative stress conditions, there is a consistent reduction of Cx43 expression, while the opening of Cx43 hemichannels protects osteocytes against cell injury caused by oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Osteoporosis Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Aging
  • Connexin channels
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Osteoporosis
  • Oxidative stress
  • Sex steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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