38.2E: Bone Remodeling and Repair - Biology

38.2E: Bone Remodeling and Repair - Biology

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Bone is remodeled through the continual replacement of old bone tissue, as well as repaired when fractured.

Learning Objectives

  • Outline the process of bone remodeling and repair

Key Points

  • Bone replacement involves the osteoclasts which break down bone and the osteoblasts which make new bone.
  • Bone turnover rates differ depending on the bone and the area within the bone.
  • There are four stages in the repair of a broken bone: 1) the formation of hematoma at the break, 2) the formation of a fibrocartilaginous callus, 3) the formation of a bony callus, and 4) remodeling and addition of compact bone.
  • Proper bone growth and maintenance requires many vitamins (D, C, and A), minerals (calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium), and hormones ( parathyroid hormone, growth hormone, and calcitonin ).

Key Terms

  • callus: the material of repair in fractures of bone which is at first soft or cartilaginous in consistency, but is ultimately converted into true bone and unites the fragments into a single piece
  • spicule: a sharp, needle-like piece
  • fibroblast: a cell found in connective tissue that produces fibers, such as collagen

Bone Remodeling and Repair

Bone renewal continues after birth into adulthood. Bone remodeling is the replacement of old bone tissue by new bone tissue. It involves the processes of bone deposition or bone production done by osteoblasts and bone resorption done by osteoclasts, which break down old bone. Normal bone growth requires vitamins D, C, and A, plus minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium. Hormones such as parathyroid hormone, growth hormone, and calcitonin are also required for proper bone growth and maintenance.

Bone turnover rates, the rates at which old bone is replaced by new bone, are quite high, with five to seven percent of bone mass being recycled every week. Differences in turnover rates exist in different areas of the skeleton and in different areas of a bone. For example, the bone in the head of the femur may be fully replaced every six months, whereas the bone along the shaft is altered much more slowly.

Bone remodeling allows bones to adapt to stresses by becoming thicker and stronger when subjected to stress. Bones that are not subject to normal everyday stress (for example, when a limb is in a cast) will begin to lose mass.

A fractured or broken bone undergoes repair through four stages:

  1. Hematoma formation: Blood vessels in the broken bone tear and hemorrhage, resulting in the formation of clotted blood, or a hematoma, at the site of the break. The severed blood vessels at the broken ends of the bone are sealed by the clotting process. Bone cells deprived of nutrients begin to die.
  2. Bone generation: Within days of the fracture, capillaries grow into the hematoma, while phagocytic cells begin to clear away the dead cells. Though fragments of the blood clot may remain, fibroblasts and osteoblasts enter the area and begin to reform bone. Fibroblasts produce collagen fibers that connect the broken bone ends, while osteoblasts start to form spongy bone. The repair tissue between the broken bone ends, the fibrocartilaginous callus, is composed of both hyaline and fibrocartilage. Some bone spicules may also appear at this point.
  3. Bony callous formation: The fibrocartilaginous callus is converted into a bony callus of spongy bone. It takes about two months for the broken bone ends to be firmly joined together after the fracture. This is similar to the endochondral formation of bone when cartilage becomes ossified; osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and bone matrix are present.
  4. Bone remodeling: The bony callus is then remodelled by osteoclasts and osteoblasts, with excess material on the exterior of the bone and within the medullary cavity being removed. Compact bone is added to create bone tissue that is similar to the original, unbroken bone. This remodeling can take many months; the bone may remain uneven for years.

Bone remodelling at a glance

Julie C. Crockett, Michael J. Rogers, Fraser P. Coxon, Lynne J. Hocking, Miep H. Helfrich Bone remodelling at a glance. J Cell Sci 1 April 2011 124 (7): 991–998. doi:

The bone remodelling cycle (see Poster panel “The bone remodelling cycle”) maintains the integrity of the skeleton through the balanced activities of its constituent cell types. These are the bone-forming osteoblast, a cell that produces the organic bone matrix and aids its mineralisation (Karsenty et al., 2009) the bone-degrading osteoclast, a unique type of exocrine cell that dissolves bone mineral and enzymatically degrades extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins (Teitelbaum, 2007) and the osteocyte, an osteoblast-derived post-mitotic cell within bone matrix that acts as a mechanosensor and an endocrine cell (Bonewald and Johnson, 2008). A fourth cell type, the bone lining cell, is thought to have a specific role in coupling bone resorption to bone formation (Everts et al., 2002), perhaps by physically defining bone remodelling compartments (Andersen et al., 2009).

Molecular dissection of genetic disorders of highly increased or reduced bone mass has identified many of the crucial proteins controlling the activity of these bone cell types. This information has resulted in both novel ways to treat or diagnose more common bone disorders and a better understanding of the common genetic variants that lead to differences in bone density in the general population.

In this poster article, we illustrate the crucial signalling pathways involved in bone cell differentiation, function and survival, and describe how the coupled activities of the cells in bone are maintained through intercellular interactions. We pay particular attention to the factors and signalling processes that have been found to be indispensable for the maintenance of healthy bones through the study of rare genetic diseases of bone.

MiRNAs in Bone Repair

Tiziana Franceschetti , Anne M. Delany , in MicroRNA in Regenerative Medicine , 2015


Bone repair takes place in overlapping stages it involves cells derived from three distinct progenitor types, including mesenchymal, epithelial, and hematopoietic lineages. miRNAs play an integral role in lineage commitment and differentiation, as well as function, of osteoblasts, chondrocytes, osteoclasts, and vascular cells. The effects of individual miRNAs are cell context–dependent, and as yet no miRNA has been identified that can be targeted for the purpose of facilitating repair. However, increased understanding of the bone repair process, coupled with advances in the understanding of miRNA–target interactions in cells present at the fracture site and in other tissues, will facilitate the translation of miRNA-based therapeutics to the clinic. Bone remodeling , fracture repair, and some key miRNA–target interactions active in these functions are outlined in this chapter.

Matrix Metalloproteinases in Bone Resorption, Remodeling, and Repair

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are the major protease family responsible for the cleavage of the matrisome (global composition of the extracellular matrix (ECM) proteome) and proteins unrelated to the ECM, generating bioactive molecules. These proteins drive ECM remodeling, in association with tissue-specific and cell-anchored inhibitors (TIMPs and RECK, respectively). In the bone, the ECM mediates cell adhesion, mechanotransduction, nucleation of mineralization, and the immobilization of growth factors to protect them from damage or degradation. Since the first description of an MMP in bone tissue, many other MMPs have been identified, as well as their inhibitors. Numerous functions have been assigned to these proteins, including osteoblast/osteocyte differentiation, bone formation, solubilization of the osteoid during bone resorption, osteoclast recruitment and migration, and as a coupling factor in bone remodeling under physiological conditions. In turn, a number of pathologies, associated with imbalanced bone remodeling, arise mainly from MMP overexpression and abnormalities of the ECM, leading to bone osteolysis or bone formation. In this review, we will discuss the functions of MMPs and their inhibitors in bone cells, during bone remodeling, pathological bone resorption (osteoporosis and bone metastasis), bone repair/regeneration, and emergent roles in bone bioengineering.

Keywords: Biomaterials Bone bioengineering Bone regeneration Bone remodeling Bone repair Bone resorption Extracellular matrix Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) Mesenchymal stem cells Tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs).

38.3 Joints and Skeletal Movement

By the end of this section, you will be able to do the following:

  • Classify the different types of joints on the basis of structure
  • Explain the role of joints in skeletal movement

The point at which two or more bones meet is called a joint , or articulation . Joints are responsible for movement, such as the movement of limbs, and stability, such as the stability found in the bones of the skull.

Classification of Joints on the Basis of Structure

There are two ways to classify joints: on the basis of their structure or on the basis of their function. The structural classification divides joints into bony, fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial joints depending on the material composing the joint and the presence or absence of a cavity in the joint.

Fibrous Joints

The bones of fibrous joints are held together by fibrous connective tissue. There is no cavity, or space, present between the bones and so most fibrous joints do not move at all, or are only capable of minor movements. There are three types of fibrous joints: sutures, syndesmoses, and gomphoses. Sutures are found only in the skull and possess short fibers of connective tissue that hold the skull bones tightly in place (Figure 38.23).

Syndesmoses are joints in which the bones are connected by a band of connective tissue, allowing for more movement than in a suture. An example of a syndesmosis is the joint of the tibia and fibula in the ankle. The amount of movement in these types of joints is determined by the length of the connective tissue fibers. Gomphoses occur between teeth and their sockets the term refers to the way the tooth fits into the socket like a peg (Figure 38.24). The tooth is connected to the socket by a connective tissue referred to as the periodontal ligament.

Cartilaginous Joints

Cartilaginous joints are joints in which the bones are connected by cartilage. There are two types of cartilaginous joints: synchondroses and symphyses. In a synchondrosis , the bones are joined by hyaline cartilage. Synchondroses are found in the epiphyseal plates of growing bones in children. In symphyses , hyaline cartilage covers the end of the bone but the connection between bones occurs through fibrocartilage. Symphyses are found at the joints between vertebrae. Either type of cartilaginous joint allows for very little movement.

Synovial Joints

Synovial joints are the only joints that have a space between the adjoining bones (Figure 38.25). This space is referred to as the synovial (or joint) cavity and is filled with synovial fluid. Synovial fluid lubricates the joint, reducing friction between the bones and allowing for greater movement. The ends of the bones are covered with articular cartilage, a hyaline cartilage, and the entire joint is surrounded by an articular capsule composed of connective tissue that allows movement of the joint while resisting dislocation. Articular capsules may also possess ligaments that hold the bones together. Synovial joints are capable of the greatest movement of the three structural joint types however, the more mobile a joint, the weaker the joint. Knees, elbows, and shoulders are examples of synovial joints.

Classification of Joints on the Basis of Function

The functional classification divides joints into three categories: synarthroses, amphiarthroses, and diarthroses. A synarthrosis is a joint that is immovable. This includes sutures, gomphoses, and synchondroses. Amphiarthroses are joints that allow slight movement, including syndesmoses and symphyses. Diarthroses are joints that allow for free movement of the joint, as in synovial joints.

Movement at Synovial Joints

The wide range of movement allowed by synovial joints produces different types of movements. The movement of synovial joints can be classified as one of four different types: gliding, angular, rotational, or special movement.

Gliding Movement

Gliding movements occur as relatively flat bone surfaces move past each other. Gliding movements produce very little rotation or angular movement of the bones. The joints of the carpal and tarsal bones are examples of joints that produce gliding movements.

Angular Movement

Angular movements are produced when the angle between the bones of a joint changes. There are several different types of angular movements, including flexion, extension, hyperextension, abduction, adduction, and circumduction. Flexion , or bending, occurs when the angle between the bones decreases. Moving the forearm upward at the elbow or moving the wrist to move the hand toward the forearm are examples of flexion. Extension is the opposite of flexion in that the angle between the bones of a joint increases. Straightening a limb after flexion is an example of extension. Extension past the regular anatomical position is referred to as hyperextension . This includes moving the neck back to look upward, or bending the wrist so that the hand moves away from the forearm.

Abduction occurs when a bone moves away from the midline of the body. Examples of abduction are moving the arms or legs laterally to lift them straight out to the side. Adduction is the movement of a bone toward the midline of the body. Movement of the limbs inward after abduction is an example of adduction. Circumduction is the movement of a limb in a circular motion, as in moving the arm in a circular motion.

Rotational Movement

Rotational movement is the movement of a bone as it rotates around its longitudinal axis. Rotation can be toward the midline of the body, which is referred to as medial rotation , or away from the midline of the body, which is referred to as lateral rotation . Movement of the head from side to side is an example of rotation.

Special Movements

Some movements that cannot be classified as gliding, angular, or rotational are called special movements. Inversion involves the soles of the feet moving inward, toward the midline of the body. Eversion is the opposite of inversion, movement of the sole of the foot outward, away from the midline of the body. Protraction is the anterior movement of a bone in the horizontal plane. Retraction occurs as a joint moves back into position after protraction. Protraction and retraction can be seen in the movement of the mandible as the jaw is thrust outwards and then back inwards. Elevation is the movement of a bone upward, such as when the shoulders are shrugged, lifting the scapulae. Depression is the opposite of elevation—movement downward of a bone, such as after the shoulders are shrugged and the scapulae return to their normal position from an elevated position. Dorsiflexion is a bending at the ankle such that the toes are lifted toward the knee. Plantar flexion is a bending at the ankle when the heel is lifted, such as when standing on the toes. Supination is the movement of the radius and ulna bones of the forearm so that the palm faces forward. Pronation is the opposite movement, in which the palm faces backward. Opposition is the movement of the thumb toward the fingers of the same hand, making it possible to grasp and hold objects.

Types of Synovial Joints

Synovial joints are further classified into six different categories on the basis of the shape and structure of the joint. The shape of the joint affects the type of movement permitted by the joint (Figure 38.26). These joints can be described as planar, hinge, pivot, condyloid, saddle, or ball-and-socket joints.

Planar Joints

Planar joints have bones with articulating surfaces that are flat or slightly curved faces. These joints allow for gliding movements, and so the joints are sometimes referred to as gliding joints. The range of motion is limited in these joints and does not involve rotation. Planar joints are found in the carpal bones in the hand and the tarsal bones of the foot, as well as between vertebrae (Figure 38.27).

Hinge Joints

In hinge joints , the slightly rounded end of one bone fits into the slightly hollow end of the other bone. In this way, one bone moves while the other remains stationary, like the hinge of a door. The elbow is an example of a hinge joint. The knee is sometimes classified as a modified hinge joint (Figure 38.28).

Pivot Joints

Pivot joints consist of the rounded end of one bone fitting into a ring formed by the other bone. This structure allows rotational movement, as the rounded bone moves around its own axis. An example of a pivot joint is the joint of the first and second vertebrae of the neck that allows the head to move back and forth (Figure 38.29). The joint of the wrist that allows the palm of the hand to be turned up and down is also a pivot joint.

Condyloid Joints

Condyloid joints consist of an oval-shaped end of one bone fitting into a similarly oval-shaped hollow of another bone (Figure 38.30). This is also sometimes called an ellipsoidal joint. This type of joint allows angular movement along two axes, as seen in the joints of the wrist and fingers, which can move both side to side and up and down.

Saddle Joints

Saddle joints are so named because the ends of each bone resemble a saddle, with concave and convex portions that fit together. Saddle joints allow angular movements similar to condyloid joints but with a greater range of motion. An example of a saddle joint is the thumb joint, which can move back and forth and up and down, but more freely than the wrist or fingers (Figure 38.31).

Ball-and-Socket Joints

Ball-and-socket joints possess a rounded, ball-like end of one bone fitting into a cuplike socket of another bone. This organization allows the greatest range of motion, as all movement types are possible in all directions. Examples of ball-and-socket joints are the shoulder and hip joints (Figure 38.32).

Link to Learning

Watch this animation showing the six types of synovial joints.

Career Connection


Rheumatologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the joints, muscles, and bones. They diagnose and treat diseases such as arthritis, musculoskeletal disorders, osteoporosis, and autoimmune diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disorder that primarily affects the synovial joints of the hands, feet, and cervical spine. Affected joints become swollen, stiff, and painful. Although it is known that RA is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, the cause of RA remains unknown. Immune cells from the blood enter joints and the synovium causing cartilage breakdown, swelling, and inflammation of the joint lining. Breakdown of cartilage causes bones to rub against each other causing pain. RA is more common in women than men and the age of onset is usually 40–50 years of age.

Rheumatologists can diagnose RA on the basis of symptoms such as joint inflammation and pain, X-ray and MRI imaging, and blood tests. Arthrography is a type of medical imaging of joints that uses a contrast agent, such as a dye, that is opaque to X-rays. This allows the soft tissue structures of joints—such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments—to be visualized. An arthrogram differs from a regular X-ray by showing the surface of soft tissues lining the joint in addition to joint bones. An arthrogram allows early degenerative changes in joint cartilage to be detected before bones become affected.

There is currently no cure for RA however, rheumatologists have a number of treatment options available. Early stages can be treated with rest of the affected joints by using a cane or by using joint splints that minimize inflammation. When inflammation has decreased, exercise can be used to strengthen the muscles that surround the joint and to maintain joint flexibility. If joint damage is more extensive, medications can be used to relieve pain and decrease inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, topical pain relievers, and corticosteroid injections may be used. Surgery may be required in cases in which joint damage is severe.


Here we show that NAD + supplementation by the NAD + precursor NR can restore a youthful number of osteoprogenitor cells and attenuate skeletal aging in female mice. These, along with the findings that the levels of NAD + decline with age in osteoblast progenitors, strongly suggest that NAD + is a major target of aging in osteoblastic cells. A decrease in NAD + was also seen in bone marrow stromal cells from 15-month-old when compared to 1-month-old mice 30 . In agreement with our findings, long-term administration of NMN increased bone mineral density in male C57BL/6 mice 31 . In contrast, administration of NMN to 12-month-old mice for only 3 months was not sufficient to alter bone mass 32 .

The decrease in NAD + with age in osteoblast progenitors was associated with an increase in Cd38—the main nicotinamide nucleotidase in mammalian tissues 33 . Cd38 is a multifunctional protein involved in the generation of the second messengers ADPR and cyclic-ADPR (cADPR) which promote intracellular calcium signaling 34 . Due to its NADase activity Cd38 is also a major contributor to cellular and tissue NAD + homeostasis 35 . Similar to our findings in osteoblast progenitors, the levels and activity of Cd38 increase with aging in liver, adipose tissue, spleen, and skeletal muscle 36 . Importantly, genetic or pharmacology inhibition of Cd38 in mice increases NAD + levels in multiple organs and prevents the age-related NAD + decline, attenuates mitochondrial dysfunction, and improves glucose tolerance, cardiac function, and exercise capacity 36� . In multiple cell types, inflammatory cytokines such as TNF promote Cd38 expression via activation of NF-kB 40,41 . These, along with the findings that the expression of inflammatory cytokines increases with age in multiple bone cell populations 13,42 and that NF-kB is stimulated in osteoprogenitors from aged mice 13 , represent a potential explanation for the age-associated increase of Cd38 in osteoblast progenitors.

We also found that the protein levels of Nampt in osteoblastic cells from old mice were lower than in cells from young mice. These along with the findings that deletion of Nampt in mesenchymal lineage cells is sufficient to decrease bone mass support the premise that the age-associated decrease in NAD + in osteoblast progenitors attenuates bone formation. Further support is provided by evidence that NR administration increases osteoprogenitor number and mineralizing surface in aging mice. In tissues such as muscle and intestine, progenitor cells are critical targets of the anti-aging effects of NR 43,44 . Nonetheless, the systemic nature of NR treatment precludes definitive conclusion about the target cells responsible for the beneficial effects on the skeleton.

We and others have shown that osteoprogenitors from old humans or mice exhibit markers of cellular senescence 13,42,45 . Elimination of senescent cells via genetic or pharmacologic manipulations increases bone mass in aged mice, suggesting that cellular senescence contributes to skeletal aging 46 . Our present findings that NR administration decreases markers of senescence in osteoblast progenitors from old mice provide strong support for the contention that a decline in NAD + is a major contributor to the age-associated bone cell senescence. This contention is further supported by evidence that a decrease in NAD + exacerbates replicative senescence in bone marrow-derived stromal cell cultures 47 . NR administration also attenuates cellular senescence in brain and skin of aged mice 43 . Interestingly, in macrophages and endothelial cells Cd38 expression can be induced by factors associated with the SASP 48 , suggesting that cellular senescence re-enforces the decline in NAD + .

In most tissues, the downstream mechanisms mediating the beneficial effects of NMN and NR remain unclear. Here, we found that NR decreased the age-related acetylation of FoxOs and β-catenin. Furthermore, lowering NAD + levels via pharmacological or genetic means strongly enhanced acetylation of these proteins. Acetylation of FoxOs increases their association with β-catenin and inhibits Wnt signaling and osteoblastogenesis 18,26 . Sirt1 deacetylates FoxOs and β-catenin and promotes osteoblastogenesis 18,19 . Our findings that osteoblastic cells from mice lacking FoxO1, 3, and 4 are partially protected from the effects of FK866 support the premise that Sirt1/FoxOs mediate the effects of NAD+ on osteoblastogenesis. Further support is provided by evidence that administration of Sirt1 stimulators to mice attenuates skeletal aging 20,21 , and that Sirt1 mediates some of the beneficial effects of NR in the liver, muscle, and gut 43,44,49 . Interestingly, both Sirt1 and FoxOs have been linked to cellular senescence 43,50 . Therefore, it is possible that a decline in NAD + with age contributes to osteoprogenitor senescence via Sirt1- and FoxO-dependent mechanisms. However, given the wide range of NAD + targets and the complex interactions between NAD + -dependent processes, further work will be required to define the cellular and molecular targets of NAD + in bone.

Our findings that heterozygous deletion of Nampt had no impact on bone development and growth but caused loss of bone mass in young adult mice suggest that a decrease in NAD + in mesenchymal lineage cells caused accelerated skeletal aging. In C57BL/6 mice, femoral growth ceases at 6𠄷 months, and at about 12 months, which is roughly equivalent to 40 years in humans 51 , the marrow space begins to expand and additional bone is slowly added to the periosteum (outer bone surface) however, the former exceeds the latter, leading to a thinner and more fragile cortex. Interestingly, Nampt deletion replicated the effects of aging on cortical bone characterized by cortical thinning associated with the expansion of both medullary and total area. The apposition of bone in the periosteum that occurs with advancing age might be compensatory response to the enlargement of medullary cavity in an effort to maintain bone strength 52 . Whether this is the case in Nampt fl/+ΔPrx1 mice requires future studies.

Based on the results of the present work, we propose that intrinsic defects in osteoblast progenitors that cause a decrease in NAD + contribute to the age-related decline in bone formation and bone mass. Repletion of NAD + with precursors such as NR, therefore, may represent a therapeutic approach to age-associated osteoporosis as it does for other age-related pathologies 16,53,54 .


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are the major protease family responsible for the cleavage of the matrisome (global composition of the extracellular matrix (ECM) proteome) and proteins unrelated to the ECM, generating bioactive molecules. These proteins drive ECM remodeling, in association with tissue-specific and cell-anchored inhibitors (TIMPs and RECK, respectively). In the bone, the ECM mediates cell adhesion, mechanotransduction, nucleation of mineralization, and the immobilization of growth factors to protect them from damage or degradation. Since the first description of an MMP in bone tissue, many other MMPs have been identified, as well as their inhibitors. Numerous functions have been assigned to these proteins, including osteoblast/osteocyte differentiation, bone formation, solubilization of the osteoid during bone resorption, osteoclast recruitment and migration, and as a coupling factor in bone remodeling under physiological conditions. In turn, a number of pathologies, associated with imbalanced bone remodeling, arise mainly from MMP overexpression and abnormalities of the ECM, leading to bone osteolysis or bone formation. In this review, we will discuss the functions of MMPs and their inhibitors in bone cells, during bone remodeling, pathological bone resorption (osteoporosis and bone metastasis), bone repair/regeneration, and emergent roles in bone bioengineering.

Exercise and Bone Tissue

Bones adapt to the muscle force loads placed on them, becoming thicker and stronger under stress and use and weaker and thinner when unused.

Learning Objectives

Distinguish among the responses of bone to activity and hormones

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Bone mass is lost if unused because it is metabolically costly to maintain it.
  • Gender differences in sex hormones contribute to larger, stronger bones in men since testosterone stimulates muscle mass, which increases bone density.
  • As a result of declines in estrogen, aging women suffer from decreased responsiveness to exercise and therefore have difficulty maintaining skeletal strength.
  • To maintain skeletal strength, older women need to increase their exercise levels by walking more.

Key Terms

  • Wolff’s law: Bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed.
  • skeletal strength: Determined by the relationship of trabecular bone to cortical bone.
  • muscle forces: The result of increased muscle mass, producing increases in bone dimension and strength.


Although we often think of the elderly as feeble and weak, regular exercise can fight osteoporosis and maintain strength and flexibility. This is demonstrated by Johanna Quaas, an 86-year-old gymnast who can still perform an amazing routine on the parallel bars.

NASA Shuttle Astronaut: Astronauts who spend a long time in space will often return to earth with weaker bones, since gravity hasn’t been exerting a load. Their bodies have reabsorbed much of the mineral that was previously in their bones.

According to Wolff’s law, bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the load under which it is placed. If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself to provide the strength needed for resistance. The internal architecture of the trabeculae undergoes adaptive changes, followed by secondary changes to the external cortical portion of the bone, perhaps becoming thicker as a result. The opposite is true as well. If the load on a bone decreases, the bone will become weaker due to turnover. It is less metabolically costly to maintain and there is no stimulus for continued remodeling required to maintain bone mass.

Muscle force is a strong determinant of bone structure, particularly during growth and development. The gender divergence in the bone-muscle relationship becomes strongly evident during adolescence. In females, growth is characterized by increased estrogen levels and increased mass and strength of bone relative to that of muscle. In men, increases in testosterone fuel large increases in muscle, resulting in muscle force that coincides with substantial growth in bone dimensions and strength.

In adulthood, significant age-related losses are observed for both bone and muscle tissues. A large decrease in estrogen levels in women appears to diminish the skeleton’s responsiveness to exercise more than in men. In contrast, the aging of the muscle-bone axis in men is a function of age-related declines in both hormones. In addition to the well-known age-related changes in the mechanical loading of bone by muscle, newer studies appear to provide evidence of age and gender-related variations in molecular signaling between bone and muscle that are independent of purely mechanical interactions. In summary, gender differences in acquisition and age-related loss in bone and muscle tissues may be important for developing gender-specific strategies for ways to reduce bone loss with exercise.

Tim Henman performs a backhand volley at the Wimbledon tournament in 2004.: The racquet-holding arm bones of tennis players become much stronger than those of the other arm. Their bodies have strengthened the bones in their racquet-holding arm since they are routinely placed under higher than normal stress.

Simple aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, and running could provide an important role in maintaining and/or increasing bone density in women. Walking is an inexpensive, practical exercise associated with low injury rates and high acceptability among the elderly. For these reasons, walking could be an appropriate approach to prevent osteoporosis and maintain bone mass.

Show/hide words to know

Chondroblasts: cell that make cartilage and help in bone healing after a break.

Hard callus: a hard bump that forms around a fracture when a bone is broken and healing.

Osteoclast: cells in your body that break down bone material in order to reshape it.

Phagocytes: cells that swallow up germs and other unwanted waste materials in the body.

Soft callus: a soft bump that forms around a fracture when a bone is broken and healing.

38.1 Types of Skeletal Systems

By the end of this section, you will be able to do the following:

  • Discuss the different types of skeletal systems
  • Explain the role of the human skeletal system
  • Compare and contrast different skeletal systems

A skeletal system is necessary to support the body, protect internal organs, and allow for the movement of an organism. There are three different skeleton designs that fulfill these functions: hydrostatic skeleton, exoskeleton, and endoskeleton.

Hydrostatic Skeleton

A hydrostatic skeleton is a skeleton formed by a fluid-filled compartment within the body, called the coelom. The organs of the coelom are supported by the aqueous fluid, which also resists external compression. This compartment is under hydrostatic pressure because of the fluid and supports the other organs of the organism. This type of skeletal system is found in soft-bodied animals such as sea anemones, earthworms, Cnidaria, and other invertebrates (Figure 38.2).

Movement in a hydrostatic skeleton is provided by muscles that surround the coelom. The muscles in a hydrostatic skeleton contract to change the shape of the coelom the pressure of the fluid in the coelom produces movement. For example, earthworms move by waves of muscular contractions of the skeletal muscle of the body wall hydrostatic skeleton, called peristalsis, which alternately shorten and lengthen the body. Lengthening the body extends the anterior end of the organism. Most organisms have a mechanism to fix themselves in the substrate. Shortening the muscles then draws the posterior portion of the body forward. Although a hydrostatic skeleton is well-suited to invertebrate organisms such as earthworms and some aquatic organisms, it is not an efficient skeleton for terrestrial animals.


An exoskeleton is an external skeleton that consists of a hard encasement on the surface of an organism. For example, the shells of crabs and insects are exoskeletons (Figure 38.3). This skeleton type provides defence against predators, supports the body, and allows for movement through the contraction of attached muscles. As with vertebrates, muscles must cross a joint inside the exoskeleton. Shortening of the muscle changes the relationship of the two segments of the exoskeleton. Arthropods such as crabs and lobsters have exoskeletons that consist of 30–50 percent chitin, a polysaccharide derivative of glucose that is a strong but flexible material. Chitin is secreted by the epidermal cells. The exoskeleton is further strengthened by the addition of calcium carbonate in organisms such as the lobster. Because the exoskeleton is acellular, arthropods must periodically shed their exoskeletons because the exoskeleton does not grow as the organism grows.


An endoskeleton is a skeleton that consists of hard, mineralized structures located within the soft tissue of organisms. An example of a primitive endoskeletal structure is the spicules of sponges. The bones of vertebrates are composed of tissues, whereas sponges have no true tissues (Figure 38.4). Endoskeletons provide support for the body, protect internal organs, and allow for movement through contraction of muscles attached to the skeleton.

The human skeleton is an endoskeleton that consists of 206 bones in the adult. It has five main functions: providing support to the body, storing minerals and lipids, producing blood cells, protecting internal organs, and allowing for movement. The skeletal system in vertebrates is divided into the axial skeleton (which consists of the skull, vertebral column, and rib cage), and the appendicular skeleton (which consists of the shoulders, limb bones, the pectoral girdle, and the pelvic girdle).

Human Axial Skeleton

The axial skeleton forms the central axis of the body and includes the bones of the skull, ossicles of the middle ear, hyoid bone of the throat, vertebral column, and the thoracic cage (ribcage) (Figure 38.5). The function of the axial skeleton is to provide support and protection for the brain, the spinal cord, and the organs in the ventral body cavity. It provides a surface for the attachment of muscles that move the head, neck, and trunk, performs respiratory movements, and stabilizes parts of the appendicular skeleton.

The Skull

The bones of the skull support the structures of the face and protect the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones, which are divided into two categories: cranial bones and facial bones. The cranial bones are eight bones that form the cranial cavity, which encloses the brain and serves as an attachment site for the muscles of the head and neck. The eight cranial bones are the frontal bone, two parietal bones, two temporal bones, occipital bone, sphenoid bone, and the ethmoid bone. Although the bones developed separately in the embryo and fetus, in the adult, they are tightly fused with connective tissue and adjoining bones do not move (Figure 38.6).

The auditory ossicles of the middle ear transmit sounds from the air as vibrations to the fluid-filled cochlea. The auditory ossicles consist of three bones each: the malleus, incus, and stapes. These are the smallest bones in the body and are unique to mammals.

Fourteen facial bones form the face, provide cavities for the sense organs (eyes, mouth, and nose), protect the entrances to the digestive and respiratory tracts, and serve as attachment points for facial muscles. The 14 facial bones are the nasal bones, the maxillary bones, zygomatic bones, palatine, vomer, lacrimal bones, the inferior nasal conchae, and the mandible. All of these bones occur in pairs except for the mandible and the vomer (Figure 38.7).

Although it is not found in the skull, the hyoid bone is considered a component of the axial skeleton. The hyoid bone lies below the mandible in the front of the neck. It acts as a movable base for the tongue and is connected to muscles of the jaw, larynx, and tongue. The mandible articulates with the base of the skull. The mandible controls the opening to the airway and gut. In animals with teeth, the mandible brings the surfaces of the teeth in contact with the maxillary teeth.

The Vertebral Column

The vertebral column , or spinal column, surrounds and protects the spinal cord, supports the head, and acts as an attachment point for the ribs and muscles of the back and neck. The adult vertebral column comprises 26 bones: the 24 vertebrae, the sacrum, and the coccyx bones. In the adult, the sacrum is typically composed of five vertebrae that fuse into one. The coccyx is typically 3–4 vertebrae that fuse into one. Around the age of 70, the sacrum and the coccyx may fuse together. We begin life with approximately 33 vertebrae, but as we grow, several vertebrae fuse together. The adult vertebrae are further divided into the 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae (Figure 38.8).

Each vertebral body has a large hole in the center through which the nerves of the spinal cord pass. There is also a notch on each side through which the spinal nerves, which serve the body at that level, can exit from the spinal cord. The vertebral column is approximately 71 cm (28 inches) in adult male humans and is curved, which can be seen from a side view. The names of the spinal curves correspond to the region of the spine in which they occur. The thoracic and sacral curves are concave (curve inwards relative to the front of the body) and the cervical and lumbar curves are convex (curve outwards relative to the front of the body). The arched curvature of the vertebral column increases its strength and flexibility, allowing it to absorb shocks like a spring (Figure 38.8).

Intervertebral discs composed of fibrous cartilage lie between adjacent vertebral bodies from the second cervical vertebra to the sacrum. Each disc is part of a joint that allows for some movement of the spine and acts as a cushion to absorb shocks from movements such as walking and running. Intervertebral discs also act as ligaments to bind vertebrae together. The inner part of discs, the nucleus pulposus, hardens as people age and becomes less elastic. This loss of elasticity diminishes its ability to absorb shocks.

The Thoracic Cage

The thoracic cage , also known as the ribcage, is the skeleton of the chest, and consists of the ribs, sternum, thoracic vertebrae, and costal cartilages (Figure 38.9). The thoracic cage encloses and protects the organs of the thoracic cavity, including the heart and lungs. It also provides support for the shoulder girdles and upper limbs, and serves as the attachment point for the diaphragm, muscles of the back, chest, neck, and shoulders. Changes in the volume of the thorax enable breathing.

The sternum , or breastbone, is a long, flat bone located at the anterior of the chest. It is formed from three bones that fuse in the adult. The ribs are 12 pairs of long, curved bones that attach to the thoracic vertebrae and curve toward the front of the body, forming the ribcage. Costal cartilages connect the anterior ends of the ribs to the sternum, with the exception of rib pairs 11 and 12, which are free-floating ribs.

Human Appendicular Skeleton

The appendicular skeleton is composed of the bones of the upper limbs (which function to grasp and manipulate objects) and the lower limbs (which permit locomotion). It also includes the pectoral girdle, or shoulder girdle, that attaches the upper limbs to the body, and the pelvic girdle that attaches the lower limbs to the body (Figure 38.10).

The Pectoral Girdle

The pectoral girdle bones provide the points of attachment of the upper limbs to the axial skeleton. The human pectoral girdle consists of the clavicle (or collarbone) in the anterior, and the scapula (or shoulder blades) in the posterior (Figure 38.11).

The clavicles are S-shaped bones that position the arms on the body. The clavicles lie horizontally across the front of the thorax (chest) just above the first rib. These bones are fairly fragile and are susceptible to fractures. For example, a fall with the arms outstretched causes the force to be transmitted to the clavicles, which can break if the force is excessive. The clavicle articulates with the sternum and the scapula.

The scapulae are flat, triangular bones that are located at the back of the pectoral girdle. They support the muscles crossing the shoulder joint. A ridge, called the spine, runs across the back of the scapula and can easily be felt through the skin (Figure 38.11). The spine of the scapula is a good example of a bony protrusion that facilitates a broad area of attachment for muscles to bone.

The Upper Limb

The upper limb contains 30 bones in three regions: the arm (shoulder to elbow), the forearm (ulna and radius), and the wrist and hand (Figure 38.12).

An articulation is any place at which two bones are joined. The humerus is the largest and longest bone of the upper limb and the only bone of the arm. It articulates with the scapula at the shoulder and with the forearm at the elbow. The forearm extends from the elbow to the wrist and consists of two bones: the ulna and the radius. The radius is located along the lateral (thumb) side of the forearm and articulates with the humerus at the elbow. The ulna is located on the medial aspect (pinky-finger side) of the forearm. It is longer than the radius. The ulna articulates with the humerus at the elbow. The radius and ulna also articulate with the carpal bones and with each other, which in vertebrates enables a variable degree of rotation of the carpus with respect to the long axis of the limb. The hand includes the eight bones of the carpus (wrist), the five bones of the metacarpus (palm), and the 14 bones of the phalanges (digits). Each digit consists of three phalanges, except for the thumb, when present, which has only two.

The Pelvic Girdle

The pelvic girdle attaches to the lower limbs of the axial skeleton. Because it is responsible for bearing the weight of the body and for locomotion, the pelvic girdle is securely attached to the axial skeleton by strong ligaments. It also has deep sockets with robust ligaments to securely attach the femur to the body. The pelvic girdle is further strengthened by two large hip bones. In adults, the hip bones, or coxal bones , are formed by the fusion of three pairs of bones: the ilium, ischium, and pubis. The pelvis joins together in the anterior of the body at a joint called the pubic symphysis and with the bones of the sacrum at the posterior of the body.

The female pelvis is slightly different from the male pelvis. Over generations of evolution, females with a wider pubic angle and larger diameter pelvic canal reproduced more successfully. Therefore, their offspring also had pelvic anatomy that enabled successful childbirth (Figure 38.13).

The Lower Limb

The lower limb consists of the thigh, the leg, and the foot. The bones of the lower limb are the femur (thigh bone), patella (kneecap), tibia and fibula (bones of the leg), tarsals (bones of the ankle), and metatarsals and phalanges (bones of the foot) (Figure 38.14). The bones of the lower limbs are thicker and stronger than the bones of the upper limbs because of the need to support the entire weight of the body and the resulting forces from locomotion. In addition to evolutionary fitness, the bones of an individual will respond to forces exerted upon them.

The femur , or thighbone, is the longest, heaviest, and strongest bone in the body. The femur and pelvis form the hip joint at the proximal end. At the distal end, the femur, tibia, and patella form the knee joint. The patella , or kneecap, is a triangular bone that lies anterior to the knee joint. The patella is embedded in the tendon of the femoral extensors (quadriceps). It improves knee extension by reducing friction. The tibia , or shinbone, is a large bone of the leg that is located directly below the knee. The tibia articulates with the femur at its proximal end, with the fibula and the tarsal bones at its distal end. It is the second largest bone in the human body and is responsible for transmitting the weight of the body from the femur to the foot. The fibula , or calf bone, parallels and articulates with the tibia. It does not articulate with the femur and does not bear weight. The fibula acts as a site for muscle attachment and forms the lateral part of the ankle joint.

The tarsals are the seven bones of the ankle. The ankle transmits the weight of the body from the tibia and the fibula to the foot. The metatarsals are the five bones of the foot. The phalanges are the 14 bones of the toes. Each toe consists of three phalanges, except for the big toe that has only two (Figure 38.15). Variations exist in other species for example, the horse’s metacarpals and metatarsals are oriented vertically and do not make contact with the substrate.

Evolution Connection

Evolution of Body Design for Locomotion on Land

The transition of vertebrates onto land required a number of changes in body design, as movement on land presents a number of challenges for animals that are adapted to movement in water. The buoyancy of water provides a certain amount of lift, and a common form of movement by fish is lateral undulations of the entire body. This back and forth movement pushes the body against the water, creating forward movement. In most fish, the muscles of paired fins attach to girdles within the body, allowing for some control of locomotion. As certain fish began moving onto land, they retained their lateral undulation form of locomotion (anguilliform). However, instead of pushing against water, their fins or flippers became points of contact with the ground, around which they rotated their bodies.

The effect of gravity and the lack of buoyancy on land meant that body weight was suspended on the limbs, leading to increased strengthening and ossification of the limbs. The effect of gravity also required changes to the axial skeleton. Lateral undulations of land animal vertebral columns cause torsional strain. A firmer, more ossified vertebral column became common in terrestrial tetrapods because it reduces strain while providing the strength needed to support the body’s weight. In later tetrapods, the vertebrae began allowing for vertical motion rather than lateral flexion. Another change in the axial skeleton was the loss of a direct attachment between the pectoral girdle and the head. This reduced the jarring to the head caused by the impact of the limbs on the ground. The vertebrae of the neck also evolved to allow movement of the head independently of the body.

The appendicular skeleton of land animals is also different from aquatic animals. The shoulders attach to the pectoral girdle through muscles and connective tissue, thus reducing the jarring of the skull. Because of a lateral undulating vertebral column, in early tetrapods, the limbs were splayed out to the side and movement occurred by performing “push-ups.” The vertebrae of these animals had to move side-to-side in a similar manner to fish and reptiles. This type of motion requires large muscles to move the limbs toward the midline it was almost like walking while doing push-ups, and it is not an efficient use of energy. Later tetrapods have their limbs placed under their bodies, so that each stride requires less force to move forward. This resulted in decreased adductor muscle size and an increased range of motion of the scapulae. This also restricts movement primarily to one plane, creating forward motion rather than moving the limbs upward as well as forward. The femur and humerus were also rotated, so that the ends of the limbs and digits were pointed forward, in the direction of motion, rather than out to the side. By placement underneath the body, limbs can swing forward like a pendulum to produce a stride that is more efficient for moving over land.

Watch the video: steel Structures - Compression Member - Example 1 2020 (July 2022).


  1. Ndulu

    There is something in this. Thanks for the information. I did not know it.

  2. Xanthus

    I just want to blow ...

  3. Rosston

    You were visited with a remarkable idea

  4. Burnard

    I believe you were wrong. I'm sure. Write to me in PM.

  5. Samunris

    even so

Write a message