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World J Exp Med. Nov 20, 2013; 3(4): 74-86
Published online Nov 20, 2013. doi: 10.5493/wjem.v3.i4.74
Mechanotransduction in bone: Intervening in health and disease
Anastasia Spyropoulou, Efthimia K Basdra
Anastasia Spyropoulou, Efthimia K Basdra, Department of Biological Chemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biomechanics Unit, University of Athens Medical School, GR-11527 Athens, Greece
Author contributions: Spyropoulou A and Basdra EK contributed to this paper equally.
Correspondence to: Efthimia K Basdra, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biomechanics Unit, University of Athens Medical School, 75, M. Asias Street, GR-11527 Athens, Greece.
Telephone: +30-210-7462547 Fax:+30-210-7791207
Received: June 28, 2013
Revised: September 27, 2013
Accepted: November 1, 2013
Published online: November 20, 2013

Mechanotransduction has been proven to be one of the most significant variables in bone remodeling and its alterations have been shown to result in a variety of bone diseases. Osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, orthopedic disorders, osteopetrosis as well as hyperparathyroidism and hyperthyroidism all comprise conditions which have been linked with deregulated bone remodeling. Although the significance of mechanotransduction for bone health and disease is unquestionable, the mechanisms behind this important process have not been fully understood. This review will discuss the molecules that have been found to be implicated in mechanotransduction, as well as the mechanisms underlying bone health and disease, emphasizing on what is already known as well as new molecules potentially taking part in conveying mechanical signals from the cell surface towards the nucleus under physiological or pathologic conditions. It will also focus on the model systems currently used in mechanotransduction studies, like osteoblast-like cells as well as three-dimensional constructs and their applications among others. It will also examine the role of mechanostimulatory techniques in preventing and treating bone degenerative diseases and consider their applications in osteoporosis, craniofacial development, skeletal deregulations, fracture treatment, neurologic injuries following stroke or spinal cord injury, dentistry, hearing problems and bone implant integration in the near future.

Keywords: Mechanotransduction, Bone remodeling, Bone disease, Bone health

Core tip: Mechanotransduction has been shown to be of major significance in modulating bone remodeling under physiological and pathological conditions. Therefore the study of the underlying mechanisms is of major importance and necessary step towards the better understanding of bone biology as well as the development of therapeutic strategies against conditions characterised by deregulated mechanotransduction. This review will consider the molecular mechanisms behind mechanotransduction as well as the scientific models currently used for its better understanding. It will also focus on mechanostimulatory techniques that could be used against a variety of deregulated mechanotransduction-related diseases.