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Growth and Development of Bones

Most bones are endochondral bones, which initially develop as cartilage that is gradually replaced by bone tissue in the process of endochondral ossification. (Other bones, mainly in the skull, are termed intermembranous and develop from layers of non-cartilagenous connective tissue.) An endochondral bone grows in length due to the mitotic activity of cells in an epiphyseal disk, located between an epiphysis and the diaphysis. Ultimately, the disk itself becomes ossified, and no further growth can occur. During an individual’s entire life, however, bones are continually “remodeled”, as bone tissue is continually resorbed and new tissue deposited. Many factors are necessary for the proper growth and development of bones, including vitamins A, C and D, the minerals calcium and phosphorus, and growth and thyroid hormones.

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