In vitro and in vivo approaches to study osteocyte biology

Ivo Kalajzic, Brya G. Matthews, Elena Torreggiani, Marie A. Harris, Paola Divieti Pajevic, Stephen E. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

Osteocytes, the most abundant cell population of the bone lineage, have been a major focus in the bone research field in recent years. This population of cells that resides within mineralized matrix is now thought to be the mechanosensory cell in bone and plays major roles in the regulation of bone formation and resorption. Studies of osteocytes had been impaired by their location, resulting in numerous attempts to isolate primary osteocytes and to generate cell lines representative of the osteocytic phenotype. Progress has been achieved in recent years by utilizing in vivo genetic technology and generation of osteocyte directed transgenic and gene deficiency mouse models. We will provide an overview of the current in vitro and in vivo models utilized to study osteocyte biology. We discuss generation of osteocyte-like cell lines and isolation of primary osteocytes and summarize studies that have utilized these cellular models to understand the functional role of osteocytes. Approaches that attempt to selectively identify and isolate osteocytes using fluorescent protein reporters driven by regulatory elements of genes that are highly expressed in osteocytes will be discussed. In addition, recent in vivo studies utilizing overexpression or conditional deletion of various genes using dentin matrix protein (Dmp1) directed Cre recombinase are outlined. In conclusion, evaluation of the benefits and deficiencies of currently used cell lines/genetic models in understanding osteocyte biology underlines the current progress in this field. The future efforts will be directed towards developing novel in vitro and in vivo models that would additionally facilitate in understanding the multiple roles of osteocytes. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "The Osteocyte".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-306
Number of pages11
JournalBone
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • Cell lines
  • Cre-recombinase
  • Dmp1
  • GFP
  • Osteocyte
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology

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