Cartilage Definition Biology - Cartilage is the connective tissue that forms the skeleton of the mammalian embryos before the formation of the bone begins. And persisting in the part of the human skeleton in adulthood. It is the only component of the skeleton found in some of the certain primitive vertebrates, including shark and lampreys. Cartilage is made of a dense network of collagen fibres embedded in a firm gelatinous ground substance having the consistency of plastic. The structure of the tissue gives tensile strength and it also enables the cartilage to bear weight while retaining greater flexibility than bone.
Mention the Types of Cartilage Tissue and Give the Functions of Cartilage
Elastic Cartilage -
Its main function is to provide support and maintain the shape of flexible body parts like the ear and larynx.
Hyaline Cartilage -
It is one of the most abundant types of cartilage found in the human body. This cartilage is smooth, transparent and glassy and it coats at the ends of the body surface, to reduce the friction in the joints. This type of cartilage is more commonly known as articular cartilage. A Diagram of Hyaline cartilage is given below.
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This type of cartilage is flexible, tough and provides cushioning in the joints. For example, the knee joint is made of half-moon-shaped fibrocartilage. And also our hip and the shoulder joints have ring-shaped labrum that provides cushioning. Fibrocartilage will absorb one-third of the joint impact load but it is not as smooth as hyaline cartilage that coats the bones themselves.
The important cell in the cartilage cell is chondrocytes. The ground substances of the cartilage are chondroitin sulfate, and the fibrous sheath is called perichondrium. Cartilage cells receive nutrition by diffusion through the gel.
Where is Cartilage Found?
It is a type of connective tissue found in the human body. At the time of development embryo cartilage is a precursor to bone cartilage. Some of the cartilage remains while the other gets dispersed throughout the body, especially to cover the joints and cartilage also composes most of the outer ear.
Role of Cartilage in Human
The important role of the cartilage in the human body is to form a model for the later growth of a scaly skeleton. Some of the parts of the skull like the clavicle and collarbone are performed in the cartilage. In the embryo, cartilage hardens by deposition and then chondrocytes are replaced by bone cells or osteocytes. A thin plate of cartilage, called the epiphyseal plate, remains at the end of growing bones after birth, and finally, cartilage hardens itself once the bone behind it has completed its growth. chondrocytes continue to grow and divide at the growing edge of the plate. And at the trailing edge they are replaced by osteocytes as new bone is laid down, in the bone cartilage, cartilage remains of a constant thickness while the bone grows behind it. Once the plate gets disappeared, then further no longitudinal bone growth is possible.
Do You Know?
What is the composition of cartilage in the human body? After going through what is cartilage? We understood cartilage is tough but flexible tissue, which contains around 65 - 80 percent of water. Although the quantity of water decreases in the older people and the rest of the percentage contains the gel-like substance known as matrix, it gives its form and function.