The key difference between calcification and ossification is that calcification is the process in which calcium salts build up in tissues, while ossification is the process of laying down new bone material or the formation of new bone tissue.
The healthy skeleton system is made up of bones, ligaments and cartilage. The human skeleton consists of 206 bones. Moreover, ligaments and cartilages are also included in the human skeleton. The main function of the human skeleton is to protect vital organs such as the brain, heart and lungs. The interaction between the skeleton system and muscles helps human to move. Therefore, proper maintaining of the skeleton system is highly important. Calcification and ossification are two phenomena that maintain bones in the skeleton system.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Calcification
3. What is Ossification
4. Similarities Between Calcification and Ossification
5. Side by Side Comparison – Calcification vs Ossification in Tabular Form
What is Calcification?
Calcification is the hardening of tissue or other material by the deposition of calcium carbonate or some other insoluble calcium compounds (calcium salts). Normally, this process occurs in the formation of bone. However, calcium can also be deposited abnormally in soft tissue. This causes soft tissue to become hard. Calcification is classified based on the presence and absence of mineral balance and the location of the calcification. Sometimes, it is also referred to as biomineralization.
Calcification of soft tissue such as arteries, cartilage, heart valves can take place due to vitamin K2 deficiency or poor calcium absorption. Poor calcium absorption is mainly due to a high calcium/vitamin D ratio. This process occurs with or without a mineral imbalance.
Furthermore, dystrophic calcification is the calcification in the degenerated or necrotic tissue such as scars that takes place without a systemic mineral imbalance. Metastatic calcification is the deposition of calcium salts in normal tissue because of elevated serum levels of calcium due to conditions such as hyperparathyroidism (with systematic mineral imbalance).
Based on the location, calcification can be classified into extraskeletal calcification, familial brain calcification, tumour calcification, arthritic bone spurs, kidney stones, gall stones, heterotopic bones, and tonsil stones. Calcification may be pathological or a standard process of ageing. Normally in breast diseases like in-situ ductal carcinoma, calcium is deposited at sites of cell death. Calcification can be diagnosed through ultrasound or radiography.
What is Ossification?
Ossification or osteogenesis is the formation of bones from osteoblast cells. Ossification is different from calcification. Ossification takes place approximately six weeks after fertilization in an embryo. It is mainly classified into two types: intramembranous ossification and endochondral ossification.
The intramembranous ossification forms the flat bones of the skull, mandible and hip bone. Intramembranous ossification is an essential process during the natural healing process of bone fractures and the rudimentary formation of bones of the skull. In intramembranous ossification, bone is developed from fibrous tissue. Endochondral ossification, on the other hand, is an extremely important process during the rudimentary formation of long bones. It helps the growth of the length of the bones and natural healing of the bone fractures. In endochondral ossification, the bone is developed from hyaline cartilage.
What are the Similarities Between Calcification and Ossification?
- Calcification and ossification are two processes occurring in bones.
- Both processes help bone development.
- They strengthen the skeleton system.
- Both processes take place by the guidance of osteoblasts.
What is the Difference Between Calcification and Ossification?
Calcification is the process in which calcium salts build up in tissues, while ossification is the process of laying down new bone material or formation of new bone tissue. So, this is the key difference between calcification and ossification. Moreover, calcification takes place in bones as well as in other tissues in the body. Meanwhile, ossification takes place only in the bones.
The below infographic lists the differences between calcification and ossification in tabular form.
Summary – Calcification vs Ossification
Bone is a rigid tissue. They protect vital organs, produce red and white blood cells, store minerals, provide structure and support to the body, and help mobility. Calcification and ossification are two phenomena that maintain bones. Calcification is the process in which calcium salts build up in tissues, while ossification is the process of laying down new bone material or formation of new bone tissue. Thus, this is the key difference between calcification and ossification.
1. “Calcification: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments.” Healthgrades, Healthgrades, 16 Jan. 2021, Available here.
1. “Metastatic calcification” By Yale Rosen (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
2. “608 Endochrondal Ossification” By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site, Jun 19, 2013. (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia