An electron microscopic study of Araldite-embedded, undecalcified human woven and chick lamellar bone is presented. The fine structure of the cells of bone in their normal milieu is described. Active osteoblasts possess abundant granular endoplasmic reticulum, numerous small vesicles, and a few secretion droplets. Their long cytoplasmic processes penetrate the osteoid. The transition of osteoblasts into osteoid osteocytes and then into osteocytes is traced and found to involve a progressive reduction of cytoplasmic organelles. Adjoining the osteocytes and their processes is a layer of amorphous material which is interposed between the cell surfaces and the bone walls of their respective cavities. Osteoclasts contain numerous non-membrane-associated ribosomes, abundant mitochondria, and little granular endoplasmic reticulum, thus differing markedly from other bone cells. The brush border is a complex of cytoplasmic processes adjacent to a resorption zone in bone. No unmineralized collagen is seen at resorption sites and it appears that collagen is removed before or at the time of mineral solution. All bone surfaces are covered by cells, some of which lack distinctive qualities and are designated endosteal lining cells. The structure of osteoid, bone, and early mineralization sites is illustrated and discussed.

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