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Embryonic Development of Bone
In the initial stages of developmental, the tube-
shape embryo contains three primary germ cell
layers :
- Ectoderm or covering layer
- Endoderm or lining layer
- Mesoderm or middle layer
From mesoderm
comes the
mesenchyme, a diffuse
cellular tissue that
pluripotentially in the
sense that its
undifferentiated cells
are capable of
differentiating into any
one of several type of
connective tissue such
as bone, cartilage,
ligament, muscle,
tendon and fascia.
During the fifth week of
embryonic development,
the limb bud, covered by
ectoderm, appear.
In the central axis of each
limb bud, the
mesenchymal cell become
condensed into the short
The cylinder is segmented
by less densely areas at the
sites of future joint and
each segment represents a
tiny mesenchymal model
of the future long bone
that will develop from it.
By the sixth embryonic week, the undifferentiated
mesenchymal cells of each model begin to differentiate by
manufacturing cartilage matrix and thereby forming a
cartilaginous model of the future bone
The cartilaginous models grows partly through the
apposition of new cells on its surface (appositional growth)
from the deeper layers of the perichondrium.
After the seventh weeks of embryogenesis, the cartilage
cells in the center of the model hyperthrophy and form
longitudinal rows, after which the intercellular substance,
or matrix, calcifies, resulting in cell death.
Vascular connective tissue then growth into the central
area of dead cartilage bringing osteoblast that secrete
collagen and proteoglycan into matrix.

Matrix is then impregnated with calcium salt and
become immature bone on the calcified cartilage
matrix, thereby forming the primary center of
This process of replacement of cartilage by bone is
called endochondral ossification and it occur only in
the presence of capillaries
The perichondrium has by this time become
periosteum, and in its deeper layer, the
mesenchymal cells, which have differentiated into
osteoblast, lay down bone directly by the process of
intramembranous ossification.

By the sixth month of embryonic development, the
resorption of the central part of long bone results in
the formation of a medullary cavity the process of
At the time birth, the largest epiphysis in the body
(distal femoral epiphysis) has develop a secondary
center of ossification by the process of
endochondral ossification within it.
Each such center, or ossific nucleus, is separated
from the metaphysis by a special plate of growing
cartilage the epiphyseal plate, or physis, which
provides growth in the length of the bone through
the interstitial growth of cartilage cells.

The short bones (e.g., the carpal bones)
are develop by endochondrall ossification
in the same manner as the epiphysis.
By contrast, the clavicle and most of the
skull develop bone directly in the
mesenchymal model by the process of
intramembranous ossification from the
periosteum without going through a
cartilagenous phase.
Classification of the type of the joints
1. Syndesmosis
2. Synchrondosis
3. Synostosis
4. Symphysis
5. Synovial joint.
Embryonic Development of Synovial
By the seventh or eighth week of
embryonic life, clefts of space, which are
filled with tissue fluid, appear in the
primitive joint plate (cavitation) and
gradually coalesce to form a single joint
The synovial fluid may be considered a
mucin (hyaluronic acid) diluted by tissue
The outer layer of the joint capsule differentiates
into fibrous tissue, whereas the inner layer
becomes specialized to form the synovial
From sixth week embryonic life, active intrauterine
movement of the limbs is essential to the normal
embryonic development of synovial joints (this just
one example of the critical importance of motion in
maintaining healthy joints)