Autophagy in osteoblasts is involved in mineralization and bone homeostasis

Autophagy Volume 10, Issue 11, Aug 2014 pages 1965-1977

Bone remodeling is a tightly controlled mechanism in which osteoblasts (OB), the cells responsible for bone formation, osteoclasts (OC), the cells specialized for bone resorption, and osteocytes, the multifunctional mechanosensing cells embedded in the bone matrix, are the main actors. Increased oxidative stress in OB, the cells producing and mineralizing bone matrix, has been associated with osteoporosis development but the role of autophagy in OB has not yet been addressed. This is the goal of the present study. We first show that the autophagic process is induced in OB during mineralization. Then, using knockdown of autophagy-essential genes and OB-specific autophagy-deficient mice, we demonstrate that autophagy deficiency reduces mineralization capacity. Moreover, our data suggest that autophagic vacuoles could be used as vehicles in OB to secrete apatite crystals.  […]