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Bone tissue formation

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Understand the pathways of ossification.
  2. Recognize the processes of ossification and the involved structures in histological images.

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Osteogenesis refers to the formation of bones, while ossification describes the development of bone tissue. There are two pathways of ossification: intramembranous and endochondral.

During intramembranous, direct ossification, mesenchymal tissue is directly converted into woven bone. This type of bone formation takes place in the calvarium (skull), in parts of the mandible and in the clavicle.

However, most bones are formed through endochondral, indirect ossification. Cartilage tissue (hyaline cartilage) is initially formed from aggregated mesenchymal cells, which is later broken down and ossified. Based on the location of mineralization, this pathway can be further divided into periosteal ossification and pure endochondral ossification. Both types of ossification play an essential role in the formation of long bones, while only endochondral ossification takes place in short bones. Periosteal ossification begins in the perichondrium, where an external bone cuff is formed. In pure endochondral ossification, which is generally divided into five stages, the cartilage tissue calcifies from within. 

Watch the following video to learn more about the two pathways of bone tissue formation and their histological appearance:

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