Photomicrograph of a growing bone spicule stained with Mallory-Azan. Osteocytes are embedded within the bone matrix of the spicule, which is stained dark blue. These cells are metabolically active, laying down the unmineralized bone matrix (osteoid). A number of osteoblasts are aligned on the right side of the spicule. Between these cells and the calcified bone spicule is a thin, light-blue-stained layer of osteoid. This is the uncalcified matrix material produced by the osteoblasts. One of the cells (arrow) has virtually surrounded itself by its osteoid product; thus it can now be called an osteocyte. On the left side of the spicule, the nongrowing part, are inactive osteoblasts. The cells exhibit flattened nuclei and attenuated cytoplasm. x550.

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