Osseous tissue

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Cross-section of a long bone showing both spongy and compact osseous tissue

Osseous tissue, or bone tissue, is the major structural and supportive connective tissue of the body. Osseous tissue forms the rigid part of the bones that make up the skeletal system.


Bone tissue is a mineralized connective tissue. It is formed by cells, called osteoblasts, that deposit a matrix of Type-I collagen and also release calcium, magnesium, and phosphate ions that ultimately combine chemically within the collagenous matrix into a crystalline mineral, known as bone mineral, in the form of hydroxyapatite. The combination of hard mineral and flexible collagen makes bone harder and stronger than cartilage without being brittle. Compact bone consists of a repeating structure called a Haversian system, or osteon, which is the primary anatomical and functional unit. Each osteon has concentric layers of mineralized matrix, called concentric lamellae, which are deposited around a central canal, also known as the Haversian canal, each containing a blood and nerve supply.

Compact bone (cross-section). (Haversian system and osteocytes).
Osteoblasts. actively synthesizing osteoid with two osteocytes.
Osteoclast with multiple nuclei and a "foamy" cytosol.


There are two types of osseous tissue: compact and spongy. Compact tissue is synonymous with cortical bone, and spongy tissue is synonymous with trabecular and cancellous bone. Compact bone forms the extremely hard exterior while spongy bone fills the hollow interior. The tissues are biologically identical; the difference is in how the microstructure is arranged.


Osseous tissue performs numerous functions including:



Osseous tissue versus bones[edit]

Bone tissue is different from bones themselves — bones are organs made up of bone tissue as well as marrow, blood vessels, epithelium and nerves, while bone tissue refers specifically to the mineral matrix that form the rigid sections of the organ.

See also[edit]