Fluid shear stress induces less calcium response in a single primary osteocyte than in a single osteoblast: Implication of different focal adhesion formation

Hiroshi Kamioka, Yasuyo Sugawara, Sakhr A. Murshid, Yoshihito Ishihara, Tadashi Honjo, Teruko Takano-Yamamoto

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The immediate calcium response to fluid shear stress was compared between osteocytes and osteoblasts on glass using real-time calcium imaging. The osteoblasts were responsive to fluid shear stress of up to 2.4 Pa, whereas the osteocytes were not. The difference in flow-induced calcium may be related to differences in focal adhesion formation. Introduction: To explore the immediate response to mechanical stress in a bone cell population, we examined flow-induced calcium transients. In addition, the involvement of focal adhesion-related calcium transients in response to fluid flow in the cells was studied. Materials and Methods: Bone cells were isolated from 16-day-old embryonic chicken calvaria by serial treatment with EDTA and collagenase. Single cells on glass without intercellular connections were subjected to fluid flow, and intracellular calcium concentration was measured using imaging with fluo-3. The identification of cell populations in the same field was performed with a chick osteocyte-specific antibody, OB7.3, and an alkaline phosphatase substrate, ELF-97, for osteoblast identification afterward. Immunofluorescence staining of vinculin was performed to visualize focal adhesions. Results: The percentage of cells responding to fluid shear stress at 1.2 Pa was 5.5% in osteocytes, 32.4% in osteoblasts, and 45.6% in OB7.3/ELF-97-negative cells. Furthermore, osteoblasts and OB7.3/ELF-97-negative cells were more responsive to 2.4 Pa than 1.2 Pa, whereas osteocytes were less responsive. The elevation of calcium transients over baseline did not show any significant differences in the populations. To elucidate the mechanism accounting for the fact that single osteocytes are less sensitive to fluid shear stress of up to 2.4 Pa than osteoblasts, we studied focal adhesion-related calcium transients. First, we compared focal adhesion formation between osteocytes and osteoblasts and found a larger number of focal adhesions in osteoblasts than in osteocytes. Next, when the cells were pretreated with GRGDS (0.5 mM) before flow treatment, a significant reduction of calcium transients in osteoblasts (18%) was observed, whereas calcium transients in osteocytes were not changed by GRGDS. Control peptide GRGES did not reduce the calcium transients in either cell type. Furthermore, we confirmed that osteoblasts in calvaria showed a marked formation of vinculin plaques in the periphery of the cells. However, osteocytes in calvaria showed faint vinculin plaques only at the base of the processes. Conclusions: On glass, single osteocytes are less sensitive to fluid shear stress up to 2.4 Pa than osteoblasts. The difference in calcium transients might be related to differences in focal adhesion formation. Shear stress of a higher magnitude or direct deformation may be responsible for the mechanical response of osteocytes in bone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1021
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2006



  • Fluid shear stress
  • Focal adhesions
  • Osteoblasts
  • Osteocytes
  • Real-time calcium imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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