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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?

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Osteocytes attach to each other by cytoplasmic extensions through gap junctions [1]. The connections between these cells are formed since they were osteoblasts and osteoid-osteocytes (type II preosteocyte) [1]. 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.

Osteoblast Organization.jpg
"Osteoblast Organization" by Physio Muse - I drew this figure in drawperfect, printed to .pdf, and converted to .jpg Previously published: Not published in any form, including not used on any website. Via Wikipedia.

Osteoblasts are connected via gap junctions mediated by connexin43 protein [2]. Mature osteocytes attach to the bone matrix by integrins (alphavbeta3) [3].


References:

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Osteocyte," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Osteocyte&oldid=618657480 (accessed July 27, 2014).
  2. Civitelli R. Cell-cell communication in the osteoblast/osteocyte lineage. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 2008 May 15;473(2):188-92. doi: 10.1016/j.abb.2008.04.005. PubMed PMID: 18424255.
  3. McNamara LM, Majeska RJ, Weinbaum S, Friedrich V, Schaffler MB. Attachment of osteocyte cell processes to the bone matrix. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2009 Mar;292(3):355-63. doi: 10.1002/ar.20869. PubMed PMID: 19248169.
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