Chalmers Conferences, 9th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology

The Role of Osteocytes in Bone Turnover: A Mathematical Model
Jason M Graham

Last modified: 2014-03-31


Many of the published mathematical models of bone remodeling that incorporate cellular activity focus on the behavior of mature osteoblasts and osteoclasts, and their respective precursor cells, with the role of osteocytes and bone lining cells left largely unexplored. However, there is increasing biological evidence that osteocytes play important roles in the cycle of targeted bone remodeling, in serving as a significant source of RANKL to support osteoclastogenesis, and in secreting the bone formation inhibitor sclerostin. Moreover, there is also increasing interest in sclerostin, an osteocyte-secreted bone formation inhibitor, and its role in regulating local response to changes in the bone microenvironment. Here we present a more recent cell population model of bone remodeling that includes the role of osteocytes, sclerostin, and allows for the possibility of RANKL expression by osteocyte cell populations. We have aimed to give a simple, yet still tractable, model that remains faithful to the underlying system based on the known literature. This model extends and complements many of the existing mathematical models for bone remodeling, but can be used to explore aspects of the process of bone remodeling that were previously beyond the scope of prior modeling work.


bone remodeling; osteocytes; mathematical model