Additional information about this network, including datasets and any atlases assembled so far, can be found on our Data Portal.
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The musculoskeletal system is a diverse organ system principally composed of the bony skeleton, muscles and connective tissues such as ligaments (connecting bone to bone) and tendons (connecting muscle to bone). It also incorporates joints; where two or more bones meet with their ends covered in a highly specialised tissue called cartilage which allows almost frictionless movement between the bones. Some of these joints are surrounded by synovial tissue, which secretes lubricating fluid and filters waste products from the joint. All of these tissues act in concert to enable locomotion and fine movement whilst providing shape, support and protection to the body.
The musculoskeletal system also includes fibroblast, immune and endothelial cells which have different functions and expression profiles depending on the tissue type in which they reside. These cells help orchestrate development, homeostasis and repair and have key roles in regulating the production and turnover of the rich extracellular matrix of musculoskeletal tissues.
At present, a complete, high resolution, landscape of cell types and their functions within each musculoskeletal tissue remains to be defined.
The Musculoskeletal Biological Network aims to coordinate clinical and non-clinical researchers to define the distinct cell types and cell states present within musculoskeletal tissues across development and adulthood. Our overarching goal is to provide a comprehensive reference dataset of the musculoskeletal system in health and disease. This resource will deliver unparalleled insight and inform delivery of efficacious strategies targeted at revolutionizing our treatments for a wealth of common and debilitating musculoskeletal system diseases.