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Bone. 2000 Dec;27(6):803-10.

Vasoactive intestinal peptide regulates osteoclast activity via specific binding sites on both osteoclasts and osteoblasts.

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  • 1Department of Oral Cell Biology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.


Clinical and experimental observations, together with immunohistochemical findings, suggest that neuro-osteogenic interactions may occur in the skeleton. In this study, we have examined the effect of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), one of the neuropeptides present in bone, on the activity of the bone-resorbing osteoclast. Effects on bone resorption were assessed by counting the number of pits formed by rat osteoclasts incubated on devitalized slices of bovine cortical bone. Under conditions with an initially sparse density of stromal cells/osteoblasts, VIP caused a rapid cytoplasmic contraction and decreased motility of osteoclasts. This was coupled with a decrease in the number of resorption lacunae and a decrease in the total area resorbed by the osteoclasts in 48-h cultures. Time-course experiments revealed that the inhibitory effects on contraction and motility were transient and that the cells gradually regained their activity, such that, when culture time was prolonged to 120 h, a stimulatory effect by VIP on bone resorption was observed. When osteoclasts were incubated on bone slices, in the presence of an initially large number of stromal cells/osteoblasts, VIP treatment increased the number of resorption pits and total bone area resorbed in 48-h cultures. Using atomic force microscopy, we provide direct evidence that both osteoclasts and stromal cells/osteoblasts bind VIP. Also, VIP was shown to cause a rapid rise of intracellular calcium in osteoclasts and in a proportion (20%) of stromal cells/osteoblasts. Taken together, these data suggest that differentiated osteoclasts are equipped with receptors for VIP that are linked to a transient inhibition of osteoclast activity and, in addition, that stromal cells/osteoblasts have VIP receptors coupled to a delayed stimulation of osteoclastic resorption.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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