Connexin43 (Cx43) is the main gap junction protein expressed in bone forming cells, where it modulates peak bone mass acquisition and cortical modeling. Genetic ablation of the Cx43 gene (Gja1) results in cortical expansion with accentuated periosteal bone formation associated with decreased expression of the Wnt inhibitor sclerostin.
In skeletal tissue, loss or mutation of the gap junction protein connexin 43 (Cx43, also known as GJA1) in cells of the osteoblast lineage leads to a profound cortical bone phenotype and defective tissue remodeling. There is mounting evidence in bone cells that the C-terminus (CT) of Cx43 is a docking platform for signaling effectors and is required for efficient downstream signaling.
Periods of physical inactivity increase bone resorption and cause bone loss and increased fracture risk. However, hibernating bears, marmots, and woodchucks maintain bone structure and strength, despite being physically inactive for prolonged periods annually.
Histone deacetylase 4 (Hdac4) regulates chondrocyte hypertrophy. Hdac4− / − mice are runted in size and do not survive to weaning. This phenotype is primarily due to the acceleration of onset of chondrocyte hypertrophy and, as a consequence, inappropriate endochondral mineralization.