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Histochem Cell Biol. 2008 Jul;130(1):79-90. doi: 10.1007/s00418-008-0419-6. Epub 2008 Mar 26.

Osteoblasts express claudins and tight junction-associated proteins.

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Consortium for Calcium and Bone Research, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand.


Osteoblasts were previously reported to form tight junctions, which may play an important role in the regulation of ion transport across the epithelial-like bone membrane. However, the evidence for the presence of tight junction-associated proteins in osteoblasts is lacking. We therefore studied the expression of tight junction-associated genes in primary rat osteoblasts and bone tissues. Quantitative real-time PCR showed that osteoblasts expressed ZO-1, -2, -3, cingulin, occludin, claudin-1 to -12, -14 to -20, -22 and -23. By using western blot analyses of selected claudins, expression of claudin-5, -11, -14 and -15, but not claudin-3, were identified in osteoblasts. A confocal immunofluorescent study in undecalcified tibial sections confirmed that claudin-16 was localized on the trabecular surface, normally covered by osteoblasts and bone-lining cells. In addition, immunohistochemical studies in decalcified tibial sections demonstrated the expression of claudin-5, -11, -14, -15 and -16 in bone-lining cells (inactive osteoblasts). Primary osteoblasts cultured in the Snapwell for 19-26 days were found to form a monolayer with measurable transepithelial resistance of approximately 110-180 Omegacm(2), confirming the presence of barrier functions of the tight junction. It was concluded that osteoblasts expressed several tight junction-associated proteins, which possibly regulated ion transport across the bone membrane.

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