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The Art in Science

Product Image Inner Squares

Inner Squares

Christophe Merceron, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Schipani Laboratory), Orthopedic Research Laboratory, Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School

Your spine needs to be rigid enough to provide stability to your body and hold your 10-pound head up, while flexible enough to allow you to play tennis and golf.  The human spine is composed of 33 bones or vertebral bodies stacked on top of one another. This is an image of part of the mouse spine; the square-shaped bones in the image are called vertebral bodies. Between each pair of bones is an intervertebral disk, filled with a gel-like substance called the “nucleus”.  These disks act to cushion the bones as they move against one another. Each column shows a different chemical test for substances present in the bones and disks (type X collagen, glycosaminoglycans, cell nuclei, and type II collagen).