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J Anat. 1987 Apr;151:157-67.

Morphological analysis and computer-aided, three dimensional reconstruction of chondrocytic columns in rabbit growth plates.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Columbia University, New York, N.Y. 10032.


Proximal tibial growth plates of New Zealand white rabbits were serially sectioned in parasagittal and horizontal planes for three dimensional, light microscopic analysis of the chondrocytic columns. A total of 431 columns was analysed. Of these, 258 columns extended through the full height of the growth plate. The remaining columns were considerably shorter, being located either predominantly in the epiphyseal half of the growth plate (100) or in the metaphyseal half of the growth plate (73). The epiphyseal and metaphyseal columns were found in clusters in the plate. Some columns in all three groups had interruptions along their length, while others had duplications. Computer-aided, three dimensional graphic reconstructions were prepared of a selected group of columns. The reconstructions illustrated the variability in the morphology and the dimensions of the neighbouring chondrocytic columns. The observations suggest that chondrocytic columns in rabbit growth plates are replaced regularly and that the small cell zone may play an important role as the cellular source for column renewal.

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