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Other Terms: Bone cell
This is the principal cell of completely formed bone. They are flattened cells with long arm-like processes that extend for considerable distances into the canaliculi of surrounding mineralized matrix where they make contact with similar extensions of neighboring cells. Although not as active in bone formation as the osteoblast, the osteocyte still has an important influence on the surrounding osseous material. It seems to play an active role in the release of calcium form bone to the blood, helping to regulate the calcium concentration in the fluids of the body. They see, to be maintenance cells of the bone tissue. When they die active resorption by osteoclastic activity occurs. When released from their mineralized surroundings they can modulate back to quiescent osteoprogenitor cells.
Osteocyte literally translates as bone cell. It comes from the Greek osteon meaning bone and kytos for cell.