MICROSCAPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICROSCAPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light microscopy of a growth plate in a growing bone. The growth plate is located towards the end of the bone at the epiphysis, the region to the right (the metaphysis is to the left). The plate is formed of cartilage consisting of columns of proliferating cartilage cells (chondrocytes) and the matrix which they produce (deep blue). Mature chondrocytes enlarge significantly before undergoing cell death (hence empty spaces) but their cartilage matrix persists and acts as a surface upon which bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) deposit bone matrix (green) in the lower half of the image. Over time the bone slowly grows in length until the growth plate stops making cartilage. This type of bone development is called endochondral ossification. Magnification x60.
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