Osteocytes: The master cells in bone remodelling

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2016 Jun:28:24-30. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2016.02.003. Epub 2016 Feb 27.


Bone remodelling is an essential process for shaping and maintaining bone mass in the mature skeleton. During our lifetime bone is constantly being removed by osteoclasts and new bone is formed by osteoblasts. The activities of osteoclasts and osteoblasts must be regulated under a strict balance to ensure that bone homeostasis is maintained. Osteocytes, which form an extensive, multi-functional syncytium throughout the bone, are increasingly considered to be the cells that maintain this balance. Current research is elucidating key signalling pathways by which the osteocyte exerts control over the other cell types in bone and over its own activities, and potential ways in which these pathways may be exploited therapeutically.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism
  • Osteocytes / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction