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Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2007 Mar;81(1):41-50.

Environmental agents affect skeletal growth and development.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics and the Center for Musculoskeletal Research, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


In this treatise we will examine complexities in the development and function of cells of the musculoskeletal system. Specifically, the role of chondrocytes and their ontogeny and osteoblasts and their ontogeny will be discussed as they regulate cartilage and bone formation. This background information will provide the foundation for evaluating the effects of environmental toxicants on skeletal development. A number of agents such as heavy metals (i.e. lead) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (i.e. pesticides and cigarette smoke) interact with cells of the skeletal system and adversely affect development. These agents have not been of major research interest, nevertheless, given changes in the environmental profile of the United States and other developed countries, it is important that we understand their effects in bone and cartilage. Research in this area will identify strategies that may be used to help prevent musculoskeletal diseases due to toxicant exposure.

(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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