Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Muscle Support

Revealing muscles' vital role in bone healing after fracture

16 August 2021

Muscle Support

Whenever you fracture a bone, progenitor cells in your damaged bone jump into action, forming a callus – a mass of fibroblasts and cartilage-producing cells called chondrocytes. New cartilage and bone is then laid down. Researchers now reveal that progenitor cells in the surrounding skeletal muscle are also involved. Mice were genetically modified to track these progenitor cells using fluorescence microscopy, focusing on the muscle surrounding the tibia bone (pictured) before fracture of the bone (left, blue), and then 3 days (middle) and 3 weeks after fracture (right). Combined with RNA analysis, the team found some progenitors matured into fibroblasts and later others matured into chondrocytes, forming a callous (right, blue). However, in mice where the bone and muscle were injured, these progenitors interfered with bone healing by producing excess fibrous tissue – administering the drug imatinib prevented this. Skeletal muscle therefore has a vital role in the effectiveness of bone healing.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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 with translations by the University of Valencia.