Paola Divieti Pajevic, M.D., Ph.D.

Physician Investigator (NonCl)
Endocrine Division, Mass General Research Institute
osteoblasts; osteocytes; parathyroid hormone; receptor, parathyroid hormone, type 1; receptors, parathyroid hormone
Our laboratory is interested in investigating the effects of hormones (parathyroid hormone; PTH), intracellular signaling (Gsa subunit) and mechanical forces (gravity) on osteocytes both “in vivo”, using genetically modified animal models, and “in vitro” using novel osteocytic cell line. Osteocytes, the most abundant cells in bone, are the cells that reside in the lacunae deep within the mineralized matrix of bone and communicate with one another and with osteoblasts and osteoclasts via gap junctions, located at the ends of long cytoplasmic processes that course through tunnels (cannalicula) in the bone. Their relative inaccessibility and (until recently) the lack of good in vitro cell models have impeded progress in understanding their functional roles. Although it is well established that bone responds to its mechanical environment, the mechanisms underlying mechano-transduction are poorly understood. Recent discoveries ascribe osteocytes as the mechanosensors and transducers of mechanical forces in bone, yet the biological mechanism of this action remains elusive.