Preosteocytes/Osteocytes Have the Potential to Dedifferentiate Becoming a Source of Osteoblasts

Elena Torreggiani, Brya G. Matthews, Slavica Pejda, Igor Matic, Mark C. Horowitz, Danka Grcevic, Ivo Kalajzic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Presently there is no clear evidence for the ability of mature osteogenic lineage cells to dedifferentiate. In order to identify and trace mature osteogenic lineage cells, we have utilized transgenic mouse models in which the dentin matrix protein 1 (Dmp1) promoter drives expression of GFP (active marker) or Cre recombinase (historic label) in preosteocytes/osteocytes. In long bone chip outgrowth cultures, in which cells on the bone surface were enzymatically removed, cells with previous activity of the Dmp1 promoter migrated onto plastic and down-regulated Dmp1-GFP expression. Dmp1Cre-labeled cells from these cultures had the potential to re-differentiate into the osteogenic lineage, while the negative population showed evidence of adipogenesis. We observed numerous Dmp1Cre-labeled osteoblasts on the surface of bone chips following their in vivo transplantation. Our data indicate that cells embedded in bone matrix are motile, and once given access to the extra bony milieu will migrate out of their lacunae. This population of cells is phenotypically and functionally heterogeneous in vitro. Once the preosteocytes/osteocytes leave lacunae, they can dedifferentiate, potentially providing an additional source of functional osteoblasts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere75204
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 6 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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