Osteocyte Remodeling of the Lacunar-Canalicular System: What’s in a Name?

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


Purpose of Review. Osteocytes directly modify the bone surrounding the expansive lacunar-canalicular system (LCS) through both resorption and deposition. The existence of this phenomenon is now widely accepted, but is referred to as “osteocyte osteolysis,” “LCS remodeling,” and “perilacunar remodeling,” among other names. The uncertainty in naming this physiological process reflects the many persistent questions about why and how osteocytes interact with local bone matrix. The goal of this review is to examine the purpose and nature of LCS remodeling and its impacts on multiscale bone quality. Recent Findings. While LCS remodeling is clearly important for systemic calcium mobilization, this process may have additional potential drivers and may impact the ability of bone to resist fracture. There is abundant evidence that the osteocyte can resorb and replace bone mineral and does so outside of extreme challenges to mineral homeostasis. The impacts of the osteocyte on organic matrix are less certain, especially regarding whether osteocytes produce osteoid. Though multiple lines of evidence point towards osteocyte production of organic matrix, definitive work is needed. Recent high-resolution imaging studies demonstrate that LCS remodeling influences local material properties. The role of LCS remodeling in the maintenance and deterioration of bone matrix quality in aging and disease are active areas of research. Summary. In this review, we highlight current progress in understanding why and how the osteocyte removes and replaces bone tissue and the consequences of these activities to bone quality. We posit that answering these questions is essential for evaluating whether, how, when, and why LCS remodeling may be manipulated for therapeutic benefit in managing bone fragility.


This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11914-022-00766-3


osteocyte, lacunar-canalicular remodeling, bone matrix, bone mineralization


Heveran, C.M., Boerckel, J.D. Osteocyte Remodeling of the Lacunar-Canalicular System: What’s in a Name?. Curr Osteoporos Rep 21, 11–20 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11914-022-00766-3
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