STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bone growth. Light micrograph of actively growing cells in the epiphyseal plate (growth plate) between the diaphysis (shaft) and epiphysis (rounded end) of a long bone. Seen at top (pale) is a region of hyaline cartilage cells (chondrocytes) that divide, enlarge and eventually die. The proliferation of these cells is seen at centre (purple). The cartilage matrix is replaced with bone formed from osteoblast cells, which results in a calcified matrix (seen here at bottom, pink). This process is known as ossification and it serves to increase the length of the diaphysis of long bones.
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