DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fractured leg bone (mouse) with bone cells (osteocytes), coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Bone cell attached to cavity with fibres. Bone cell (osteocyte) in a bone lacuna from a fractured compact bone. A bone-producing cell is called an osteoblast. During bone formation osteoblasts become progressively trapped in the bone matrix at sites called lacunae. The osteoblast produces osteoid, the organic bone matrix that is a mass of collagen fibres and glycoprotein cement. As soon as osteoid is formed, calcium salts crystallize inside it to form mineralized, compact bone. Osteoblasts that become trapped in lacunae in the bone become osteocytes. The osteocyte has many processes or thread-like extensions that enter the bone through the bone canaliculi, a network of minute channels linking nearby lacunae. Compact bone is made of collagen fibres and ground substances arranged in concentric sheets. Magnification: x2,000 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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