Skeletogenesis is an exquisitely orchestrated and dynamic process, culminating in the formation of highly variable and complex mineralized structures that are optimized for their function. While cellular and molecular biology studies have provided tremendous recent progress toward understanding how patterns of bone formation are regulated, high resolution imaging techniques such as microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) can provide complementary quantitative information about the progressive changes in three-dimensional (3-D) skeletal morphology and density that occur during early skeletal development and postnatal growth. Furthermore, recently developed in vivo micro-CT systems promise to be a powerful and efficient tool for noninvasively monitoring normal skeletogenesis, as well as for evaluating the effects of genetic or environmental manipulation. This review focuses on the use of micro-CT imaging and analysis to better understand normal and abnormal skeletal development and growth.
(c) 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.