Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

In 2017 we celebrated five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Banking Bones
07 September 2014

Banking Bones

Have you saved-up enough bone tissue for your retirement? By your mid-20s, your bone mass and density will have peaked, only to drop with age as bones lose more minerals than they can take up. Load-bearing exercise, like running, rather than swimming, and a healthy diet can stave off bone-wasting diseases like osteoporosis. Gentle stress on the bones helps new bone-cells, or osteoblasts (pink), to develop and prompts the soft unmineralised bone matrix (orange-brown) that the cells produce to harden into solid bone (black) by fixing minerals like calcium and phosphate. Failure of this crucial step, as in some genetic disorders like neurofibromatosis type I, can lead to frequent bone fractures and excessive growth of soft bone tissue, treated by remedial surgery or amputation when severe. Future therapies with enzymes like asfotase alpha, which encourages calcium uptake in bones, are undergoing clinical trials and hold promise for effective and less invasive treatment.

Written by Tristan Farrow

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More