Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Skeleton Crew
25 January 2015

Skeleton Crew

Inside this femur [thigh bone] lies a type of cell that once helped to build the skeleton in the womb, and could be reawakened to help ageing joints. Osteochondroreticular (OCR) stem cells, labelled with a red fluorescent marker, are pictured spreading all over the femur (white), into areas of growing bone tissue (green), as well as cartilage and connective tissue (blue). Yet it’s not just where they are, but what they’re doing that makes these cells so special. OCRs have the capability to transform, or differentiate, into new bone and into new cartilage – a sort of self-contained repair team for skeletal damage. This femur is from an adult mouse, but the race is on to investigate similar cells in human tissues. In the future, OCRs may be transplanted into areas of damage or disease, their skeleton-building potential put to use as novel treatments for bone fractures, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Written by John Ankers

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

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.