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False-colour scanning electron micrograph of human bone showing an osteocyte lying in a cavity known as a lacuna. An osteocyte is a former osteoblast, a cell responsible for bone formation, that has ceased activity and has become embedded in the bone matrix. A number of long, slender osteocyte processes (also visible) extend into the bone matrix through corresponding tunnels called canaliculi. The processes of neighbouring osteocytes often interconnect so that a fine network of canaliculi is formed which aids the exchange of gases & nutrients throughout the bone. Magnification: x3200 at 6x7cm size.
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