About this Research Topic
In vertebrates, the skeleton determines body growth, posture and movements as well as protects vital organs such as the heart, lungs and brain. It also regulates calcium levels and houses the production and maturation of red and white blood cells.
The bone tissue is formed and remodeled throughout life via the concerted action of the bone forming osteoblasts and the bone resorbing osteoclasts. Whereas renewal and growth in most organs occurs chiefly at the cellular and molecular levels, bone renewal (termed remodeling) occurs at a tissue level in that resorption of old bone must precede new bone formation. This emphasizes the peculiarity of osteoclasts being the only cell that is capable of degrading mineralized tissues. This unique role comes with unique biological properties, both developmentally and functionally.
The pivotal role of osteoclasts is tightly regulated by a plethora of cells and signals. The occurrence of coupling mechanisms, by which osteoblast and osteoclast activities are matched during remodelling, is well established. More recently, osteocytes residing within the bone matrix have been reported to tightly regulate osteoclasts and bone resorption. But osteoclasts are affected by many other signals emanating from virtually every organ such as the immune and reproductive systems, muscles, brain, fat, the peripheral nervous system and even the gut microbiota. Mechanical insults, stress (e.g. hypoxia, reactive oxygen species), toxins and drugs can directly affect osteoclast development and function.
This series of articles will explore the origin of osteoclasts and their generation, as well as the genetic and environmental cues directed at the osteoclasts in the scope of deepening our understanding on their involvement in a range of diseases including osteoporosis, osteopetrosis, arthritis, inflammation-induced osteolysis and metastases.
Lead Guest Editor: Dr. Yankel Gabet, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Keywords: Monocytes, Bone Resorption, Fusion, Osteoblast Coupling, Osteoclastogenesis
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