Osteoblasts: Function, development, and regulation

Elizabeth W. Bradley, Jennifer J. Westendorf, Andre J. Van Wijnen, Amel Dudakovic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Osteoblasts are derived from a variety of progenitor populations, including bone marrow, neural crest, and periosteal cells. Osteoblasts produce extracellular matrix proteins and paracrine factors that together support formation of bone tissue. The major function of osteoblasts is to produce the organic constituents of the bone extracellular matrix that facilitate its mineralization by inorganic compounds. Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) are considered the developmental precursors of osteoblasts. Transcriptional regulation of gene expression in osteoblasts is controlled by epigenetic events that are important for normal osteoblast differentiation and function. The commitment of MSCs into the osteoblast lineage is controlled by molecular mechanisms including signaling pathways, transcription factors, and epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic events coordinated by histone or DNA-modifying proteins and noncoding RNAs amplify and promote retention of tissue specific functions. Understanding these events is essential for understanding bone degeneration and regeneration, and permits design of strategies that may prevent or mitigate bone-related disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPrimer on the Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781119266594
ISBN (Print)9781119266563
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Developmental precursors
  • Epigenetic events
  • Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells
  • Molecular mechanisms
  • Osteoblasts
  • Transcriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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