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Hyaline cartilage

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Become familiar with the structure of hyaline cartilage
  2. Understand the connection between the structure and function of hyaline cartilage.
  3. Name where this type of cartilage occurs.

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Hyaline cartilage is the most common type of cartilage in the human body. It is typically characterized by a firm consistency and a smooth surface. In contrast to fibrocartilage, there is no dense and fibril ECM in hyaline cartilage. Light microscopy usually reveals many densely grouped chondrocytes with strongly stained cartilage capsules in hyaline cartilage. Between them, there is an extracellular ground substance made up of proteoglycans and glycoproteins, which appears much brighter and more homogeneous. The proteins in the ground substance have a high water-binding capacity, which allows the hyaline cartilage to carry out its function.

Hyaline cartilage is usually surrounded by a perichondrium. It is found in joints as articular cartilage, in costal cartilage, in the cartilaginous framework of the nose, the larynx (most parts), the trachea, the bronchi and in growing bones.

Watch the following video to learn more about the properties and histological appearance of hyaline cartilage:

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