Osteocytes could release some small molecules (≤ 1 kDa) through gap junctions and hemichannels to extracellular environment, such as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), nitric oxide (NO) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which play key roles in transferring signals between bone cells and other tissue cells. Connexin (Cx) 43 is the most abundant connexin in osteocytes. To further discover molecules released by osteocytes through Cx43 channels and better understand the regulatory function of Cx43 channels in osteocytes, we performed non-targeted global metabolomics analysis using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) on conditioned medium collected from osteocytes isolated from two transgenic mouse models with Cx43 dominant negative mutants driven by a 10 kb-DMP1 promoter: R76W (gap junctions are blocked, whereas hemichannels are promoted) and Δ130-136 (both gap junctions and hemichannels are blocked). The results revealed that several new categories of molecules, such as “fatty acyls” and “carboxylic acids and derivatives”, could be released through osteocytic Cx43 channels. In addition, alteration of Cx43 channel function affected the release of metabolites related to inflammatory reaction and oxidative stress. Pathway analysis further showed that citric acid cycle was the most differential metabolic pathway regulated by Cx43 channels. In sum, these results isolated new potential metabolites released by osteocytes through Cx43 channels, and offered a novel perspective to understand the regulatory mechanisms of osteocytes on themselves and other cells as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism