Crystals in calcified epiphyseal cartilage and cortical bone of the rat
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The size of hydroxyapatite (HAP) crystals in calcified cartilage and cortical bone of the rat has been studied and compared with that of synthetic poorly crystalline hydroxyapatite (PCHA). Crystal size was determined by X-ray diffraction and selected-area dark field imaging, and their elemental compositions were determined by emission spectroscopy. The crystal size of cartilage, bone, and PCHA were found to be between 120 and 170 A in length by 50 A in width as determined by both X-ray diffraction and dark field imaging. Cartilage had a lower ash weight than bone but both have the same Ca/P ratio of 1.6. These findings, though in agreement with the X-ray diffraction literature, differ from observations made by conventional bright field electron microscopy. We conclude that mineral sites in cartilage and bone, which exist as platelike structures, are in fact aggregates of small 120-170 X 50 A HAP crystals. The consequences of these findings was discussed in view of crystal relationships with collagen and other macromolecules.
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