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Bone growth plate, light micrograph

Bone growth plate, light micrograph


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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 towards the top. 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 before undergoing cell death but their cartilage matrix persists (irregular blue structures) acting as a surface upon which bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) deposit bone matrix (pink) 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 x130 when narrow width printed at 10 cm.

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