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Zeinab sakkara

It is a special type of connective
tissue with firm consistency of the extracellular matrix.
some degree of flexibility.

It is rigid, weight bearing tissue with It is poor in blood supply.

Types of the Cartilage

There are 3 types of cartilage:

Hayline cartilage. Yellow elastic fibro- cartilage. White fibro-cartilage.


Structure: it is formed of:

Perichondrium. Cartilage cells = chondrocytes. Cartilage matrix.

It is a vascular connective tissue
membrane which surrounds the cartilage except at the articular surfaces of the joints.

It is formed of 2 layers: (a) Outer fibrous layer (b) Inner chondrogenic layer

Function of the perichondrium:

It acts as source of O2 + nutrients to the
cartilage cells. The inner chondrogenic layer is responsible for new cartilage formation which occurs during: Growth of cartilage by addition of new cartilage under the perichondrium = appositional growth. Regeneration and healing of the cartilage when injured. It provides attachment for muscles.

Cartilage matrix
General characters: It is rubbery in consistency. It is non vascular but it allows diffusion of oxygen and nutrients from capillaries on the outside to reach the chondrocyte. Tissue fluid constitutes 75% of the weight of the matrix

Staining reaction
The matrix appears homogenous
basophilic by Hx, E due to presence of sulphated glycosaminoglycans. The basophilia is markedly increased around lacunae and cell nests. It is stained metatchromatically by Toluidine blue appear purple. It shows strong PAS positivity.

It is composed of:
(1) Collagen fibres (Type II): Collagen form

40% of the dry weight of the hyaline cartilage

(2) Proteoglycans : Chondroitin 4- sulphateChondroitin 6-

sulphateLinked with core of protein (3) Glycoprotein: Called chondronectin which adheres chondrocytes to the matrix collagen. (4) Protein: called chondrocalcin: which help calcification.

Cartilage cells
There are two types of chondrocytes:

1) Young Chondrocytes:

They arise from the inner

chondrogenic layer. They are flat cells with open-face nuclei and pale basophilic cytoplasm. They are present singly in their lacunae at the periphery of the cartilage and parallel to the perichondrium.

2)Mature old Chondrocytes: Site: deep in the cartilage in the form of

rows perpendicular to the perichondrium.

LM: Shape: They are oval or rounded when

single and triangular or semicircular (when in groups 2, 4, 8). A group of cells in a single lacuna are called cell nests which may be divided by thin partitions of matrix. They have rounded and open face nuclei.

They have granular, basophilic cytoplasm rich in glycogen, fat and phosphatase enzyme. They can divide and show mitotic figures. They show plenty of mitotic figures.

They contain rER, ribosomes, well developed Golgi. The surface show short cytoplasm processes.

Sites of hyaline cartilage

It constitutes the majority of the

foetal skeleton. Articular surface of bones. Costal cartilage in the thoracic cage. Nose, trachea, bronchi. Laryngeal cartilage thyroid and cricoid.


It is essentially identical to hyaline cartilage except that: The matrix contains an abundant network of fine elastic fibers in addition to collagen type II fibrils which responsible for elasticity and flexibility of this type. Fresh elastic cartilage has a yellow colour due to presence of elastin in the elastic fibers. It can be stained by standard elastic stains e.g. orcein and verhoeffs stains


Auricle of the ear. External auditory meatus. Eustachian tube. Epiglottis. Laryngeal cartilage (aritenoid,


General characters: It is a tissue intermediate between dense C. T. and hyaline cartilage.

It is white in colour in fresh state.

It is tens and resists stretch due to
presence of collagen fibers

It differs from hyaline cartilage in:

It is not covered by perichondrium

but it is surrounded by dense C. T. rich in blood vessels from which it is nourished.

They are arranged in rows or columns. They are present singly or in groups inside their lacunae.

It is acidophilic because it contains a great number of coarse type I collagen fibers.

The collagen fibers are arranged in bundles between the rows of chondrocytes.


Interverterbal discs. Semilunar cartilage of knee joints. Symphysis pubis. Lips of glenoid cavity. Terminal parts of tendons.

Growth of the Cartilage

The cartilage grow by 2 mechanisms: Appositional growth: It is the addition of new cartilage under the perichondrium by activation of chondroblast in the chondrogenic layer to chondrocytes which synthesize collagen fibrils and ground substance. It causes growth of cartilage in width.

Interstitial growth:

The chondrocytes divide and synthesize the cartilage matrix. It occurs in epiphyseal plates and within articular cartilage. It causes growth of cartilage in length.