Bone development and homeostasis require the interplay between several cell types, including mesenchymal osteoblasts and osteocytes, as well as hematopoietic osteoclasts. Recent evidence suggests that cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis of both mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells, which are fundamental for tissue regeneration and treatment of degenerative diseases, are controlled by P2 receptors (i.e., P2X and P2Y receptors). Both types of P2 receptors are versatile transducers of diverse signals activated by extracellular nucleotides like ATP that are released in response to tissue injury, infection or shear stress. The P2X family of receptors has been shown to mediate multiple signaling events including the influx of calcium, activation of mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and induction of AP-1 family members known to regulate bone development. Support for the significance of P2X7 in regulating bone development and homeostasis has been provided by several studies focusing on animal models and single nucleotide polymorphisms. P2 receptors are functionally expressed in both bone forming osteoblasts and bone resorbing osteoclasts, while recent findings also suggest that these receptors translate mechanical stimuli in osteocytes. Their ability to respond to external nucleotide analogs renders these cell surface proteins excellent targets for skeletal regenerative therapies. This overview summarizes mechanisms by which nucleotide receptors control skeletal cells and contribute to bone tissue development remodeling and repair.
- Mesenchymal stem cell
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