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Annu Rev Physiol. 2020 Feb 10;82:507-529. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021119-034425. Epub 2019 Sep 25.

Osteoclasts Provide Coupling Signals to Osteoblast Lineage Cells Through Multiple Mechanisms.

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Bone Cell Biology and Disease Unit, St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria 3065, Australia; email:,
Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria 3065, Australia.


Bone remodeling is essential for the repair and replacement of damaged and old bone. The major principle underlying this process is that osteoclast-mediated resorption of a quantum of bone is followed by osteoblast precursor recruitment; these cells differentiate to matrix-producing osteoblasts, which form new bone to replace what was resorbed. Evidence from osteopetrotic syndromes indicate that osteoclasts not only resorb bone, but also provide signals to promote bone formation. Osteoclasts act upon osteoblast lineage cells throughout their differentiation by facilitating growth factor release from resorbed matrix, producing secreted proteins and microvesicles, and expressing membrane-bound factors. These multiple mechanisms mediate the coupling of bone formation to resorption in remodeling. Additional interactions of osteoclasts with osteoblast lineage cells, including interactions with canopy and reversal cells, are required to achieve coordination between bone formation and resorption during bone remodeling.


bone remodeling; coupling; exosomes; osteoblasts; osteoclasts; reversal phase

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