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Perichondrium

Perichondrium is an irregular connective tissue structure forming an investing capsule around cartilage, specifically hyaline and elastic cartilage. It surrounds their entirety except at the junction between cartilage and bone and over the articular surface of synovial joints. Articular hyaline cartilage and fibrocartilage are not invested by perichondrium. 

Perichondrium is composed of two layers: an outer fibrous layer and an inner chondrogenic layer. The outer fibrous layer is a dense membrane of connective tissue composed of fibroblast cells which are responsible for collagen fiber production. The inner chondrogenic layer consists of chondroblasts which play an important role in the formation of new cartilage. Chondroblasts also function to secrete and maintain the extracellular matrix which provide structure and strength to the cartilage.

Perichondrium is highly vascularized and contains capillaries which function to nourish cartilage, promote cell renewal and reduce recovery time from damage. Additionally, due to the presence of chondroblast cells within the inner layer, the perichondrium also contributes to the growth and maintenance of cartilage. 

Terminology English and Latin: Perichondrium
Location Surrounds hyaline and elastic cartilage
Structure Outer fibrous layer: Fibroblasts 
Inner chondrogenic layer: Chondroblasts
Function Protect bones and cartilage from injury and damage, nourish cartilage through blood vessels, and facilitate cartilage growth

Take a closer look at structures which are surrounded by perichondrium using the study units below. 

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