Think about bones and you’ll probably imagine a dead, rattling skeleton. But the bones in your body are very much alive. Throughout our lifetime, different types of cells work together to create and destroy bone tissue in carefully controlled cycles that are regulated by a number of genes. These two images are mouse thigh bones, stained with dyes that highlight different components in the bone and seen down a microscope. The one on the left comes from a healthy animal, but the one on the right is from a mouse missing a crucial gene called bone morphogenetic protein receptor 1a (Bmpr1a). Without it, the cycle of growth and destruction are out of balance, so mice have bigger but less healthy bones. Not only does this discovery reveal more about healthy bone maintenance, but it also points to potential targets for future treatments for people suffering from bone diseases and disorders.
Written by Kat Arney
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.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.