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Human Ground Bone, 100X Polarized Light
Bone is a calcified connective tissue, and like other connective tissues, it consists of cells, fibers, and ground substance. The deposition of inorganic calcium phosphate salts as hydroxyapatite crystals within its matrix is a distinguishing characteristic of bone. This renders it structurally rigid. Haversian Systems (osteons) are distinctive structural units of compact bone that reflect the developmental and nutritive pattern of its lamellar configuration. Haversian systems consist of Haversian canals containing blood vessels and nerves surrounded by concentric lamellae of bone. In life these lacunae are occupied by osteocytes. Lacunae are connected with each other, and ultimately with the perivascular spaces of the Haversian canal, by canaliculi. This communicating system of canaliculi is essential for exchange of gases and metabolites between the osteocytes and the perivascular spaces of the Haversian canal. Volkmann’s canals, which also contain vessel and nerves, are larger in diameter than Haversian canals and run perpendicularly to them. To study the lamellar and canalicular pattern of the calcified matrix, it is necessary to grind dried bone that has not been decalcified to a thickness that permits the microscope light to be transmitted (“ground bone”).