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Mechanosensing in Bone and the Role of Glutamate Signalling

  • Tim Skerry

Abstract

The ability of the skeleton to sense the effects of mechanical loading is necessary to explain the adaptation of bone to the functions imposed upon it by different activities. While initially it appears that such adaptation could be explained by load-induced bone formation and disuse-induced bone resorption, such ideas rapidly become too simplistic to explain many observations of skeletal physiology. When examined in more detail, these require that the skeleton is sensitive to more than simply the amount of force applied to it, and that its responses to changes in loading are not limited to formation or resorption, but must include a much more sophisticated architectural response. Finally, it is clear that the skeleton has the ability to retain some evidence of loading events and to use this in modifying its responses to subsequent events. The mechanisms underlying this “memory” of loading in bone are still not clear. However, the identification of numerous signalling systems in bone cells that have clearly identified functions in learning and memory in the central nervous system point to the possibility that common mechanisms may exist in both bone and brain. Understanding of the complexities of these different aspects of the way the skeleton perceives and responds to loading may have implications on several areas of clinical relevance, including optimisation of exercise regimens, development of artificial loading systems that mimic physiological stimuli, and pharmacological stimulation or potentiation of mechanical events.

Keywords

Adaptive Change Habitual Activity Strain Magnitude Glutamate Signalling Bone Strain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The work performed in my lab that I mention here was funded largely by grants from BBSRC, with additional support from ARC, MRC and Conacyt.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mellanby Bone CentreSchool of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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