MICROSCAPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICROSCAPE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light microscopy of an intervertebral disc. The disc is found between two vertebral bodies their bone tissue margins stained pink. The centre of the disc is formed of cells and a gel-like matrix, called the nucleus pulposus. It is a remnant of the head-to-tail central axis of the early embryo (the notochord). Fibrocartilage rings (blue) form the outer margins of the disc, called the nucleus fibrosus. The disc acts like a cushion between the stacked vertebral bodies and resists compression but allows movements of each vertebra. A slipped disc' is an abnormal protrusion (herniation) of the central portion through a damaged region or tear of the fibrocartilage. Magnification x90 when narrow width printed at 10 cm.
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