Postnatal Osteological Development of the Cervical Vertebrae in the New Zealand White Rabbit

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This study used the New Zealand White rabbit to reveal the normal ossification development of the cervical component of the spine. Preserved cervical vertebrae representing five different age periods, each period including five individuals and the total number of animals being 25, were fixed in 3.5% formaldehyde solution and 95% ethanol, followed by a pure acetone bath. The materials were then stained with an alcian blue-alizarin red combination. The ossification centres were identical over time, and the pattern of fusion among them was homogenous and constant in appearance. There were three different primary ossification centres in all the cervical vertebrae except the axis, which showed four primary ossification centres. The dorsally located primary ossification centres later formed the pedicles of the neural arches, while the ventral centres constituted the body of each vertebra. The study was terminated at 10 weeks of age because the ossification centres observed in the cervical vertebrae completed their fusion and no further ossification centres were observed.

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