As the mechano-sensory apparatus in bone, osteocytes are conjectured to be the most potent candidate to establish a memory of the local mechanical environment in bone tissue. demonstrated that osteocytic networks are more sensitive and dynamic than osteoblastic networks, especially under low level mechanical stimulations. Furthermore, pathway studies were performed to identify the molecular mechanisms responsible for the differences in [Ca2+]i signaling between osteoblastic and osteocytic networks. The results suggested that the T-type voltage gated calcium channels (VGCC) expressed on osteocytes may play an essential role in the unique kinetics of [Ca2+]i signaling in osteocytic networks, while the L-type VGCC is critical for both types of cells to release multiple [Ca2+]i peaks. The extracellular calcium source, intracellular calcium store in ER, ATP, PGE2, NO and caffeine related pathways are found to play similar roles in the [Ca2+]i signaling for both osteoblasts and osteocytes. The findings in this study Docusate Sodium proved that osteocytic networks possess unique characteristics in sensing and processing mechanical signals. and integrate the signals into appropriate anabolic or catabolic activities of the bone cell system (3C6). A prominent mechanism for osteocytes to communicate with each other is through the intercellular physical connections. Osteocytes can establish gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC) with each other at the end of long processes as well as cells on the bone surface (mainly lining cells and osteoblasts) and cells in bone marrow (7,8). However, studies showed that osteoblast could also regulate cellular activities in response to mechanical stimuli, micro-patterned bone cell networks, we propose to (A) compare the mechano-sensitivity of osteoblastic and osteocytic LAG3 networks under physiologically relevant mechanical stimuli, (B) examine the spatiotemporal characteristics of [Ca2+]i signaling in osteoblastic and osteocytic network and their dependence on the stimulation intensity, and (C) investigate the roles of major [Ca2+]i signaling pathways and identify the potential mechanisms responsible for the difference between osteocytic and osteoblastic networks in their [Ca2+]i responses. This study represents the first effort to systematically compare the mechano-sensitivity between osteocytes, the so-called mechanical sensor, and osteoblasts as two distinctive cell networks. Materials and Methods Chemicals Minimum essential alpha medium (-MEM), calcium free Dulbeccos modified eagle medium (DMEM), calcium-free Hanks balanced salt solution (HBSS), and ATP determination kit were obtained from Invitrogen Corporation (Carlsbad, CA). Fetal bovine serum (FBS), charcoal-stripped FBS, and penicillin/streptomycin (P/S) were obtained from Hyclone Laboratories Inc (Logan, UT). Trypsin/EDTA, octadecanethiol, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), fibronectin, 18-glycyrrhetinic acid (18-GA), suramin, caffeine, EGTA, Tetracaine hydrochloride, NNC 55-0396, amlodipine, and thapsigargin were obtained from Sigma-Aldrich Co (St. Louis, MO). N-(2-Cyclohexyloxy-4-nitrophenyl) methanesulfonamide (NS-398) and NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) were from EMD Chemicals Inc (San Diego, CA). Cell Culture Osteocyte-like MLO-Y4 cells (a generous gift from Dr. Lynda Bonewald, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO) were cultured on type I rat tail collagen (BD Biosciences, San Jose, CA, USA) coated Petri-dish in -MEM supplemented with 5% FBS, 5% calf serum (CS) and 1% P/S (42). MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells were cultured in -MEM containing 10% FBS and 1% P/S. Cells were maintained at 37C and 5% CO2 in a humidified incubator and not allowed to exceed 70C80% confluency in order to maintain the dendritic characteristic of the cell lines. Bone Cell Network Micro-contact printing and self-assembled monolayer (SAM) surface chemistry technologies were employed to construct bone cell networks for calcium signaling experiments as described previously (43,44). This technique can precisely control the geometric topology of cell network, unify the intercellular connections for each individual cell, and best mimic native structure of mature bone cell networks. In brief, a grid mesh cell pattern was designed using parameters optimized for MC3T3-E1 and MLO-Y4 cells, respectively. The designed patterns were printed on a chromium mask and then replicated to a master made of positive photoresist (Shipley 1818, MicroChem Corp, Newton, MA) Docusate Sodium by exposing the master to UV light through the chromium mask. Polydimethylsiloxane Docusate Sodium (PDMS, Dow Corning, Midland, MI) was poured on the master and oven cured at 85 C. Micro-contact printing PDMS stamps with the designed pattern were obtained by lifting off the PDMS from the master surface. To build a bone cell network, the PDMS stamp was dipped into an adhesive SAM (octadecanethiol) and then pressed onto a gold coated glass slide (custom-designed by an E-beam evaporator; SC2000, SEMICORE Inc., Livermore, CA). The stamped glass slide was immediately immersed within a nonadhesive ethylene glycol terminated SAM alternative (HS-C11-EG3; Prochimia, Sopot, Poland) for at least three hours. A monolayer of EG3, that may withstand proteins adsorption and cell adhesion successfully, was produced on areas which were not really previously inked Docusate Sodium using the adhesive SAM. To boost the cell connection over the adhesive SAM inked locations further, the glass glide was incubated within a 1%.