Role of gap junction, hemichannels, and connexin 43 in mineralizing in response to intermittent and continuous application of parathyroid hormone

Priscilla P. Cherian, Xuechun Xia, Jean X. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Intermittent administration stimulates bone formation, whereas sustained elevation of parathyroid hormone (PTH) as in hyperparathyroidism stimulates bone resorption. Even though PTH(1-34) is the only anabolic agent clinically approved for the treatment of osteoporosis, the molecular mechanism whereby PTH mediates these opposing effects depending on timing of administration is not well understood. In this study, we sought to determine the involvement of gap junctions and hemichannels, and the protein that forms them, connexin 43 (Cx43), in the effect of PTH(1-34) on osteoblast mineralization. The osteoblast-like cell line MLO-A5 that rapidly mineralizes in culture was used. Intermittent PTH enhances mineralization, whereas continuous PTH inhibits this process. The mineralization was significantly inhibited by 18 β-glycyrrhetinic acid, an inhibitor known to block gap junctions and hemichannels. When the cells were treated with PTH(1-34), gap junctional coupling was increased; however, the degree of stimulation was similar between intermittent and continuous treatment. The permeabilization to dye was not detected under various intermittent or continuous PTH treatments. On the other hand, the overall level of Cx43 protein increased in response to continuous PTH treatment. In contrast, when the cells were subjected to intermittent treatment overall level of Cx43 was unchanged, but there was an increase of connexons associated with an increase in Cx43 expression on the cell surface. Our results suggest that Cx43 overall expression, connexon formation and cell surface expression are differentially regulated by intermittent and continuous PTH(1-34), implying the involvement of Cx43 and Cx43-forming channels in mediating the effects of PTH on bone formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalCell Communication and Adhesion
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 1 2008



  • Connexin
  • Gap junction
  • Intermittent and continuous PTH
  • Parathyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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