Bone Cells

Bone cells (Figure 1) consist of two main groups or families of cells: osteoblasts, responsible for bone formation, and osteoclasts, responsible for bone resorption. The two cell types are derived from different progenitor cells. Osteoclasts

Figure 1 (a) Bone cell osteoclasts are bone-resorbing cells. They have the distinctive features of a clear zone (CZ), which seals an extracellular space between the cell and the bone, and the ruffled border (arrow) which enables the secretion of acid and proteolytic enzymes out of the cell and phagocytosis of bone fragments. (b) Osteoblasts are large cuboidal cells rich in endoplasmic reticulum. They lay down the collagenous matrix of bone and regulate its mineralization. (c) Osteocytes are small quiescent cells embedded in bone. They are derived from osteoblasts that become embedded in bone matrix. They form a dense network of canaliculi containing cell processes that interconnect with adjacent osteocytes and bone-lining cells.

Figure 1 (a) Bone cell osteoclasts are bone-resorbing cells. They have the distinctive features of a clear zone (CZ), which seals an extracellular space between the cell and the bone, and the ruffled border (arrow) which enables the secretion of acid and proteolytic enzymes out of the cell and phagocytosis of bone fragments. (b) Osteoblasts are large cuboidal cells rich in endoplasmic reticulum. They lay down the collagenous matrix of bone and regulate its mineralization. (c) Osteocytes are small quiescent cells embedded in bone. They are derived from osteoblasts that become embedded in bone matrix. They form a dense network of canaliculi containing cell processes that interconnect with adjacent osteocytes and bone-lining cells.

are derived from the hemopoietic stem cell system,2 whereas osteoblasts are derived from mesenchymal precursors, which progress through periosteal and marrow stromal stem cell stages.3 Intercellular communication, particularly between osteoblasts and osteoclasts, is thought to be important in determining net effects of bone formation and resorption.

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