Are the processes and canaliculi formed and contacts established after the osteocytes are embeded in the matrix or are they formed during the embedding process itself. Is there any evidence to suggest either?
Osteocytes attach to each other by cytoplasmic extensions through gap junctions . The connections between these cells are formed since they were osteoblasts and osteoid-osteocytes (type II preosteocyte) . Osteoblasts have a greater volume than osteocytes and the lack of extracellular matrix favors their adhesion. As they begin to synthesize extracellular matrix, their volume is reduced and this matrix takes space between cells, but with respect to the existent intercellular junctions around which matrix forms canaliculi.
Osteoblasts are connected via gap junctions mediated by connexin43 protein . Mature osteocytes attach to the bone matrix by integrins (alphavbeta3) .