Learning Objectives

After reading this post you will know:

  • What is cartilage (definition)?
  • Functions of cartilages.
  • Characteristic features of cartilage tissue.
  • Components of cartilage.
  • Types of cartilage and their sites.
  • Differences between hyaline, elastic and fibrous cartilage.


Q. What is cartilage?
A. Cartilage is a specialized connective tissue designed to give support to regions of body that require rigidity and flexibility.

Q. What the functions of cartilages?
A. Functions of Cartilages:

  • Form framework for respiratory passage to prevent their collapse.
  • Act as shock absorber in spine ( intervertebral discs).
  • Resist compressive forces at joints ( articular catilages).
  • Helps in growth of bone (epiphyseal plate).

Q. What are the characteristic features of Cartilages.
A. Characteristic features of Cartilages:

  • Cartilages lack blood vessels, lymphatics and nerves.
  • Cartilages are supplied by diffusion of oxygen and nutrients through extracellular matrix from blood vessels in perichondrium /surrounding tissues/synovial fluid.
  • Extracellular matrix of cartilages is highly permeable.
  • Cartilages have poor regeneration capacity.
  • Cartilages are usually surrounded by perichondrium (except articular cartilage and fibrocartilage).

Q.What are the components of cartilages?
A. Components of cartilages:

  • Cells are chondroblasts and chondrocytes
  • Fibres are collagen and elastic ( impart tensile strength and elasticity)
  • Ground substance is made up of hyaluronic acid , glycosaminoglycans and (chondroitin sulphate, keratan sulphate), glycoproteins (chondronectin).

Q. What is perichondrium?
A.   Perichonrium
s a connective tissue sheath that surrounds the hyaline and elastic cartilages.

  •  It has two layers:
    •  outer fibrous layer  contains collagen fibers, fibroblasts,  blood vessels.
    • Inner chondrogenic layer is cellular. It contains chondrogenic cells and chondroblasts.
  •  It helps in growth and repair of cartilage.

players of perichondrium

Q. What are the characteristic features of Chondroblasts and chondrocytes?
A. Chondrocytes and chondroblasts 
re derived from mesenchymal cells.

Chondroblasts are:

  • oval shaped young  cells  with cell processes.
  • present in perichondrium.
  • precursors of  chondrocytes.

Chondrocytes are

  • older and mature cells.
  • oval shaped and small at the periphery.
  • round and large towards the center.
  • located within the lacunae, singly or in isogenous groups.

Q.   Differentiate between hyaline, elastic and fibrous cartilage.

A.Differences between hyaline, elastic and fibrous cartilage

Q. How does a cartilage grows?

A. Cartilage grows by two methods:

Interstitial growth:  In this type of growth  the cartilage  grows by mitotic divisions of existing chondrocytes and  deposition of the extracellular matrix  by these newly formed chondrocytes.

Appositional growth:  In this type of growth,  the inner layer of perichondrium cells ( chondrogenic cells) divide and differentiate into chondroblasts. The newly formed cells and matrix are added at the periphery/surface .



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