Investigating Osteocytic Perilacunar/Canalicular Remodeling

Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2019 Aug;17(4):157-168. doi: 10.1007/s11914-019-00514-0.


Purpose of review: In perilacunar/canalicular remodeling (PLR), osteocytes dynamically resorb, and then replace, the organic and mineral components of the pericellular extracellular matrix. Given the enormous surface area of the osteocyte lacuna-canalicular network (LCN), PLR is important for maintaining homeostasis of the skeleton. The goal of this review is to examine the motivations and critical considerations for the analysis of PLR, in both in vitro and in vivo systems.

Recent findings: Morphological approaches alone are insufficient to elucidate the complex mechanisms regulating PLR in the healthy skeleton and in disease. Understanding the role and regulation of PLR will require the incorporation of standardized PLR outcomes as a routine part of skeletal phenotyping, as well as the development of improved molecular and cellular outcomes. Current PLR outcomes assess PLR enzyme expression, the LCN, and bone matrix composition and organization, among others. Here, we discuss current PLR outcomes and how they have been applied to study PLR induction and suppression in vitro and in vivo. Given the role of PLR in skeletal health and disease, integrated analysis of PLR has potential to elucidate new mechanisms by which osteocytes participate in skeletal health and disease.

Keywords: Lacuna-canalicular network; Osteocyte; Perilacunar/canalicular remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Matrix / metabolism*
  • Bone Matrix / ultrastructure
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / metabolism
  • Cathepsin K / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Osteocytes / enzymology
  • Osteocytes / metabolism*
  • Osteocytes / ultrastructure
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Cathepsin K
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases
  • Carbonic Anhydrases