Bone, a specialized and mineralized connective tissue, makes up, with cartilage, the skeletal system, which serves three main functions: A mechanical function as support and site of muscle attachment for locomotion; a protective function for vital organs and bone marrow; and finally a metabolic function as a reserve of calcium and phosphate used for the maintenance of serum homeostasis, which is essential to life. In this chapter the anatomy and cell biology of bone is described as well as the mechanisms of bone remodeling, development and growth. Remodeling is the process by which bone is turned-over, allowing the maintenance of the shape, quality and amount of the skeleton. This process is characterized by the co-ordinated actions of osteoclasts and osteoblasts, organized in bone multicellular units (BMUs) which follow an Activation-Resorption-Formation sequence of events. During embryonic development, bone formation occurs by two different means: intramembranous ossification and endochondral ossification. Bone Growth is a term used to describe the changes in bone structure once the skeleton is formed and during the period of skeletal growth and maturation.
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