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Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2007 Jun;5(2):81-6.

The biology of osteocytes.

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Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering Collaboration (MTEC), University of Edinburgh Medical School, The Chancellor's Building, Edinburgh EH16 4SB, UK.


Osteocytes, the most abundant cell type in bone, remain the least characterized. Several theories have been proposed regarding their function, including osteolysis, sensing the strains produced in response to mechanical loading of bones, and producing signals that affect the function of osteoblasts and osteoclasts and hence, bone turnover. This review also discusses the role of osteocyte apoptosis in targeted bone remodeling and proposes that the occurrence of osteocyte apoptosis is consistent with the description of apoptosis as an essential homeostatic mechanism for the healthy maintenance of tissues.

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