Journal of Anatomy
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© 2016 Anatomical Society. Pannexins form single-membrane channels that allow passage of small molecules between the intracellular and extracellular compartments. Of the three pannexin family members, Pannexin3 (Panx3) is the least studied but is highly expressed in skeletal tissues and is thought to play a role in the regulation of chondrocyte and osteoblast proliferation and differentiation. The purpose of our study is to closely examine the in vivo effects of Panx3 ablation on long bone morphology using micro-computed tomography. Using Panx3 knockout (KO) and wildtype (WT) adult mice, we measured and compared aspects of phenotypic shape, bone mineral density (BMD), cross-sectional geometric properties of right femora and humeri, and lean mass. We found that KO mice have absolutely and relatively shorter diaphyseal shafts compared with WT mice, and relatively larger areas of muscle attachment sites. No differences in BMD or lean mass were found between WT and KO mice. Interestingly, KO mice had more robust femora and humeri compared with WT mice when assessed in cross-section at the midshaft. Our results clearly show that Panx3 ablation produces phenotypic effects in mouse femora and humeri, and support the premise that Panx3 has a role in regulating long bone growth and development.