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Interactions between Muscle and Bone-Where Physics Meets Biology

Herrmann M1, Engelke K2, Ebert R3, Müller-Deubert S3, Rudert M4, Ziouti F5, Jundt F5, Felsenberg D6, Jakob F3,4.

Biomolecules. 2020 Mar 10;10(3). pii: E432. doi: 10.3390/biom10030432.

Muscle and bone interact via physical forces and secreted osteokines and myokines. Physical forces are generated through gravity, locomotion, exercise, and external devices. Cells sense mechanical strain via adhesion molecules and translate it into biochemical responses, modulating the basic mechanisms of cellular biology such as lineage commitment, tissue formation, and maturation. This may result in the initiation of bone formation, muscle hypertrophy, and the enhanced production of extracellular matrix constituents, adhesion molecules, and cytoskeletal elements. Bone and muscle mass, resistance to strain, and the stiffness of matrix, cells, and tissues are enhanced, influencing fracture resistance and muscle power. This propagates a dynamic and continuous reciprocity of physicochemical interaction. Secreted growth and differentiation factors are important effectors of mutual interaction. The acute effects of exercise induce the secretion of exosomes with cargo molecules that are capable of mediating the endocrine effects between muscle, bone, and the organism. Long-term changes induce adaptations of the respective tissue secretome that maintain adequate homeostatic conditions. Lessons from unloading, microgravity, and disuse teach us that gratuitous tissue is removed or reorganized while immobility and inflammation trigger muscle and bone marrow fatty infiltration and propagate degenerative diseases such as sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Ongoing research will certainly find new therapeutic targets for prevention and treatment.