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Expression of signaling proteins in bone cells depends on their embryological mesoderm-derived (e.g. tibia) or cranial neural crest (CNC)-derived (e.g. jaw) origin. Connexin 43 (Cx43) is a gap junction protein that plays an essential role in the mode of action of bisphosphonates (BP). This study aimed to investigate Cx43 expression and the influence of BP application on mesoderm- and CNC-derived bone. Using a rat model, molar extraction and tibia osteotomy with (Group 4) or without (Group 3) previous BP application was performed. Untreated (Group 1) and animals selectively treated with BPs (Group 2) served as controls. Cx43 expression was immunohistochemically determined 12 and 16 weeks postoperatively via a labeling index. Cx43 expression in CNC-derived bone was significantly higher compared with mesodermal bone. BP application decreased Cx43 expression; however, detected expression levels were still higher in jawbone (Group 2 tibia vs jaw: 5.83 ± 5.06 vs 23.52 ± 6.42; p = 0.007). During bone healing after surgical intervention (Group 3) there were no expression differences between tibia and jawbone. BP treatment prior to surgery resulted in significantly lower Cx43 expression in CNC-derived compared with tibia bone (Group 4 tibia vs jaw: 56.84 ± 15.57 vs 16.40 ± 5.66; p < 0.01). Increased Cx43 expression in jaw compared with tibia bone is in line with their embryological origins. A significant Cx43 suppression in jawbone after BP application and surgery might contribute to the selectively altered osseous turnover and development of MRONJ in CNC-derived bone. Copyright © 2021 European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Raimund H M Preidl, Kerstin Amann, Manuel Weber, Martin Schiller, Manuela Ringler, Jutta Ries, Friedrich W Neukam, Marco Kesting, Carol-Immanuel Geppert, Falk Wehrhan. Lineage-associated connexin 43 expression in bisphosphonate-exposed rat bones. Journal of cranio-maxillo-facial surgery : official publication of the European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery. 2021 Aug;49(8):738-747

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PMID: 33642117

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