Nitric oxide signaling in mechanical adaptation of bone


One of the most serious healthcare problems in the world is bone loss and fractures due to a lack of physical activity in elderly people as well as in bedridden patients or otherwise inactive youth. Crucial here are the osteocytes. Buried within our bones, these cells are believed to be the mechanosensors that stimulate bone formation in the presence of mechanical stimuli and bone resorption in the absence of such stimuli. Intercellular signaling is an important physiological phenomenon involved in maintaining homeostasis in all tissues. In bone, intercellular communication via chemical signals like NO plays a critical role in the dynamic process of bone remodeling. If bones are mechanically loaded, fluid flows through minute channels in the bone matrix, resulting in shear stress on the cell membrane that activates the osteocyte. Activated osteocytes produce signaling molecules like NO, which modulate the activity of the bone-forming osteoblasts and the bone-resorbing osteoclasts, thereby orchestrating bone adaptation to mechanical loading. In this review, we highlight current insights in the role of NO in the mechanical adaptation of bone mass and structure, with emphasis on its role in local bone gain and loss as well as in remodeling supervised by osteocytes. Since mechanical stimuli and NO production enhance bone strength and fracture resistance, these new insights may facilitate the development of novel osteoporosis treatments.

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-013-2590-4

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@article{KleinNulend2013NitricOS, title={Nitric oxide signaling in mechanical adaptation of bone}, author={J. Klein-Nulend and Ren{\'e} F. M. van Oers and Astrid D Bakker and Rommel G. Bacabac}, journal={Osteoporosis International}, year={2013}, volume={25}, pages={1427-1437} }