Mechanical loading stimulates expression of connexin 43 in alveolar bone cells in the tooth movement model

Jelica Gluhak-Heinrich, Sumin Gu, Dubravko Pavlin, Jean X. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Bone osteoblasts and osteocytes express large amounts of connexin (Cx) 43, the component of gap junctions and hemichannels. Previous studies have shown that these channels play important roles in regulating biological functions in response to mechanical loading. Here, we characterized the distribution of mRNA and protein of Cx43 in mechanical loading model of tooth movement. The locations of bone formation and resorption have been well defined in this model, which provides unique experimental systems for better understanding of potential roles of Cx43 in bone formation and remodeling under mechanical stimulation. We found that mechanical loading increased Cx43 mRNA expression in osteoblasts and bone lining cells, but not in osteocytes, at both formation and resorption sites. Cx43 protein, however, increased in both osteoblasts and osteocytes in response to loading. Interestingly, the upregulation of Cx43 protein by loading was even more pronounced in osteocytes compared to other bone cells, with an appearance of punctate staining on the cell body and dendritic process. Cx45 was reported to be expressed in several bone cell lines, but here we did not detect the Cx45 protein in the alveolar bone cells. These results further suggest the potential involvement of Cx43-forming gap junctions and hemichannels in the process of mechanically induced bone formation and resorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-125
Number of pages11
JournalCell Communication and Adhesion
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Cx43
  • Gap junctions
  • Mechanical loading of bone
  • Tooth movement model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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