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Articular cartilage

Recommended video: Types of synovial joints [18:19]
Synovial joints are the main type of joints found in the body.

The articular cartilage is a type of specialized connective tissue present in synovial joints. It is composed of hyaline cartilage with a dense extracellular matrix and scattered specialized cells of the cartilage known as chondrocytes

The extracellular matrix is mainly composed of collagen, proteoglycans, and glycoproteins which help to retain the water molecules in the matrix. Interestingly, the cartilage doesn't have any blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatic tissue

The main function of the articular cartilage is to provide an optimal surface for enabling movement in the joint. More specifically, it prevents friction between the bones and facilitates the transmission of loads to the underlying bone. 

The articular cartilage is of great clinical importance because its injury can cause a significant musculoskeletal dysfunction. In addition, this cartilage has a limited ability of healing and repair, thus its preservation during life is of key importance for well-being. 

Terminology English: Articular cartilage
Latin: Cartilago articularis
Definition Specialized connective tissue present in synovial joints
Function Facilitates the movements in the joints, prevents friction and enables transmission of load 
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Learn more about the strucutre and types of joints with the following study unit: 

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