Histology of Cartilage by Dr. Eman Saeed Quiz

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10 Questions

Which type of cartilage resists stretch due to the presence of collagen fibers?

White fibrocartilage

Which type of cartilage is translucent pale blue in appearance?

Hyaline cartilage

In which type of cartilage are chondrocytes arranged in rows or columns?

Yellow elastic fibrocartilage

Which type of cartilage is more flexible due to the presence of elastic fibers?

Yellow elastic fibrocartilage

Where can white fibrocartilage be found in the body?

Semilunar cartilage of knee joints

Which type of cartilage constitutes the majority of the fetal skeleton?

Hyaline cartilage

Which cartilage type is stained by standard elastic stains like Verhoeff’s stains?

Yellow elastic fibrocartilage

Where are the terminal parts of tendons found?

Lips of glenoid cavity

Which cartilage type has an abundant network of fine elastic fibers in its matrix?

Yellow elastic fibrocartilage

In which type of cartilage are the collagen fibers arranged in bundles between the rows of chondrocytes?

White fibrocartilage

Study Notes


  • Cartilage is a special type of connective tissue with a firm consistency of the extracellular matrix.

Hyaline Cartilage

  • Appearance: translucent, pale blue (hyaline = glassy)
  • Consistency: firm, rigid, with some degree of flexibility
  • Structure: formed of perichondrium, cartilage cells (chondrocytes), and cartilage matrix
  • Sites: constitutes majority of the fetal skeleton, articular surface of bones, costal cartilage in the thoracic cage, nose, trachea, and bronchi
  • Perichondrium: a vascular connective tissue membrane that surrounds the cartilage, except at the articular surfaces of the joints
  • Function of perichondrium: acts as a source of O2 and nutrients to the cartilage cells, responsible for new cartilage formation

Cartilage Cells (Chondrocytes)

  • Two types: young chondrocytes and mature chondrocytes
  • Young chondrocytes: arise from the inner chondrogenic layer, flat cells with open-face nuclei and pale basophilic cytoplasm
  • Mature chondrocytes: oval or rounded, triangular or semicircular when in groups, with rounded and open-face nuclei, granular, basophilic cytoplasm rich in glycogen, fat, and phosphatase enzyme
  • Function: synthesize and secrete components of the cartilage matrix (collagen type II, proteoglycans, glycoprotein, and chondronectin)

Cartilage Matrix

  • Consistency: rubbery
  • Staining reaction: homogenous basophilic with Hx, E, and strong PAS positivity
  • Components: collagen fibers (type II), proteoglycans (sulphate chondritin 4 sulphate), glycoprotein (chondronectin), and protein (chondrocalcin)

Yellow Elastic Fibrocartilage

  • Appearance: yellow in color due to presence of elastic fibers
  • Consistency: elastic and flexible due to presence of elastic fibers
  • Structure: matrix contains an abundant network of elastic fibers, stained by standard elastic stains (e.g., Verhoeff's stain)
  • Sites: auricle of the ear, external auditory meatus, Eustachian tube, and epiglottis

White Fibrocartilage

  • Appearance: white in fresh state
  • Consistency: tense and resists stretch due to presence of collagen fibers
  • Structure: differs from hyaline cartilage in that it is not covered by perichondrium, chondrocytes arranged in rows or columns, and matrix contains bundles of coarse type I collagen fibers
  • Sites: intervertebral discs, semilunar cartilage of knee joints, symphysis pubis, lips of glenoid cavity, and terminal parts of tendons

Test your knowledge on the histological structure of hyaline cartilage, yellow elastic fibro cartilage, and white fibrocartilage. Learn to differentiate between the different types of cartilage and understand the special characteristics of each type.

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