STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Intervertebral disc. Light micrograph of a vertical section through an intervertebral disc. This ellipsoidal disc cushions the two vertebral bodies above and below. The inner core of the disc (partly cellular and partly jelly-like) is called the nucleus pulposus (yellow). The crescent-shaped peripheral layers (red, left and right) of fibrocartilage are termed the annulus fibrosus. This serves to resist compression of the vertebral column, while allowing for bending of the spine in flexion, extension and rotatory movements. Both vertebral bodies contain cartilage growth plates (blue). Magnification: x25 when printed at 10 centimetres across.
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