STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Osteocyte. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a freeze-fractured osteocyte (purple) surrounded by bone (grey). An osteocyte is an osteoblast (a bone-producing cell) that has become trapped within a bone cavity. The fracture plane has revealed details of the internal cell structure, including a large, dark concave region that was the site of the cell nucleus. Osteoblasts produce the organic matrix of bone that is called osteoid. This consists of a mass of collagen fibres and a glycoprotein cement. As soon as osteoid is formed, calcium salts crystallize inside it to form hard, mineralised bone. Magnification: x4000 at 6x7cm size.
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