Skeletal System

Bone Basics

What are some specialized bone cells?

The four major types of specialized cells in bone are osteogenic cells, osteoblasts, osteocytes, and osteoclasts.

Osteogenic cells—From the Greek osteo, meaning “bone,” and genes, meaning “born,” these are cells that are capable of becoming bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) or bone-destroying cells (osteoclasts).

Osteoblasts—From the Greek osteo and blastos, meaning “bud or growth,” they are the cells that form and build bone. Osteoblasts secrete collagen and other organic components needed to build bone tissue. As they surround themselves with matrix materials, they become trapped in their secretions and become osteocytes.

Osteocytes—From the Greek osteo and cyte, meaning “cell,” osteocytes are the main cells in mature bone tissue.

Osteoclasts—From the Greek osteo and klastes, meaning “break,” these cells are multinuclear, huge cells, that are usually found where bone is reabsorbed.


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