Muscle fibers, which have no real capacity to regenerate are crept among and replaced by fibrous strings of collagen, replacing over a lifetime both voluntary, involuntary and cardiac muscle fibers. Healthy fat cells providing energy storage, heat and insulation are emptied of their contents by Father Time and move to fibrous tissue replacement with the loss of fat and its function. Bones and joints become brittle with loss of mineral and relative increase in fibrous tissue replacing bone and cartilage. Toughened fibrous tissue surrounds the joints and the loss of resilience limits the range of motion. Gravity flattens the feet which become longer and wider and the fibers around the joints stretch and hurt.
If one takes a Petri dish and a batch of primitive undifferentiated mesenchymal cells and subjects the cells to varying oxygen tension and altered motion applications these cells have the capacity to metamorphose to differentiated cells. In the case of the young they differentiate into fibroblasts, osteoblasts and chondroblasts. the precursors of fibrous tissue , bone or cartilage. This elegant system when operating in the prime of life with mesenchymal cells in optimum environment, perform in balance. If the human mileau is changed to low oxygen tension and low motion, over time the homeostatic state of the old, excess fibrosis ensues.
This is the hour- glass at work that spells the demise of the capacity of the magnificent primitive mesenchyme to differentiate selectively. These cells form the framework for our body. The change is gradual and relentless as fibrous creep invades the spaces in the vital organ cells as well as the timbers that house and protect them.
Paradoxically, we become both tough and feeble; tough and yet often more tender. Succulent chickens and young Turks : in time all become like boiling fowl !