cartilage

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cartilage

(kär`təlĭj), flexible semiopaque connective tissueconnective tissue,
supportive tissue widely distributed in the body, characterized by large amounts of intercellular substance and relatively few cells. The intercellular material, or matrix, is produced by the cells and gives the tissue its particular character.
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 without blood vessels or nerve cells. It forms part of the skeletal system in humans and in other vertebrates, and is also known as gristle. Temporary cartilage makes up the skeletal system of the fetus and the infant, forming a model for later replacement by bonebone,
hard tissue that forms the skeleton of the body in vertebrate animals. In the very young, the skeleton is composed largely of cartilage and is therefore pliable, reducing the incidence of bone fracture and breakage in childhood.
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 as the body matures. Permanent cartilage remains throughout life, as in the external ear, nose, larynx, and windpipe (or trachea). Cartilage is also present at the jointsjoint,
in anatomy, juncture between two bones. Some joints are immovable, e.g., those that connect the bones of the skull, which are separated merely by short, tough fibers of cartilage. Movable joints are found for the most part in the limbs.
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, where it reduces friction and imparts flexibility. There are three major types of cartilage appearing in vertebrates. The most common is hyaline cartilage, which composes the pre-skeletal model and is found in adults at the joints, in the nose, and in several internal organs. Elastic cartilage is found in several parts of the ear and in the epiglottis, and is the most pliable type of cartilage. Fibrocartilage is found in the intervertebral disks, and is an extremely resilient tissue.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

Cartilage

A firm, resilient connective tissue of vertebrates and some invertebrates. Isolated pieces act to provide support and anchor muscles, or with bone to contribute its resilience and interstitial growth to skeletal functions. Cartilage comprises a firm extracellular matrix synthesized by large, ovoid cells (chondrocytes) located in holes called lacunae. The matrix elements are water bound by the high negative charge of extended proteoglycan (protein-polysaccharide) molecules, and a network of fine collagen fibrils. The elements furnish mechanical stability, give, and tensile strength, but allow the diffusion of nutrients and waste to keep the cells alive. See Bone, Collagen

Cartilage is modified in several ways. In elastic cartilage, elastic fibers in the matrix increase resilience, as in cartilages supporting the Eustachian tube, mammalian external ear, and parts of the larynx. Where cartilage joins bones tightly at certain joints with limited mobility, for example, at the pubic symphysis and between vertebrae, the matrix of fibrocartilage contains prominent collagen fibers and has less proteoglycan than the typical hyaline variety. Hyaline cartilage, named for its glassy translucence, is the major support in the airway; and throughout the embryo, pieces of it develop as a precursor to the bony skeleton, except in the face and upper skull. See Ear (vertebrate), Larynx

The primitive cartilaginous skeleton undergoes another modification, by locally calcifying its matrix. At sites of calcification, invading cells destroy the cartilage and mostly replace it by bone, leaving permanent hyaline cartilage only at the joint or articular surfaces, in some ribs, and, until maturity, at growth plates set back from the joints and perpendicular to the long axis of limb bones. The precarious physiological balance between chondrocytes and matrix materials in the heavily loaded articular cartilage breaks down in old age or in inflamed joints. See Connective tissue, Joint (anatomy)

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cartilage

 

a connective tissue that performs a mechanical (support) function; it is found in all vertebrates, including man, and in some invertebrates, for example, cephalopod mollusks. In cartilaginous fish and cyclostomes the entire skeleton consists of cartilage; in other vertebrates the cartilaginous skeleton occurs only in embryos. In adult mammals, including man, cartilage is preserved in the joint surfaces of bones, in the thoracic ends of the ribs, in the tracheal and bronchial walls, and in the auricle of the external ear. It also is present in the nasal wall, larynx, epiglottis, and eyelids.

Cartilage is formed from the mesenchyma. It is constructed from cells known as chondrocytes and by the intercellular substance elaborated by the cells. The substance consists of collagenous fibers (chondrin) and ground substance. Three types of cartilage—hyaline, elastic, and fibrous—are distinguished according to the characteristics of the intercellular substance. Hyaline cartilage is the most common. Its large quantity of ground substance and the similar values of the refractive index of ground substance and fibrous component determine its external features: homogeneity and glassiness. Elastic cartilage differs from hyaline cartilage in that it has elastic fibers. Fibrous cartilage has bundles of collagenous fibers that can be easily observed under a light microscope.

Cartilage is covered with a membrane of connective tissue, perichondrium, which contains cells capable of changing into chondrocytes. Cartilage grows mainly by such transformation and by the division of cartilage cells (intercalary growth). Cartilage does not have blood vessels; nutrients penetrate it by diffusion.

N. G. KHRUSHCHOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

cartilage

[′kärd·əl·ij]
(histology)
A specialized connective tissue which is bluish, translucent, and hard but yielding.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

cartilage

a tough elastic tissue composing most of the embryonic skeleton of vertebrates. In the adults of higher vertebrates it is mostly converted into bone, remaining only on the articulating ends of bones, in the thorax, trachea, nose, and ears
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The above information summarized the history of use of shark cartilage as a supplement but does not constitute a recommendation for its use.
After taking 1/2 a bottle Bell Shark Cartilage #1 my pain started to diminish and after I finished the first bottle the pain was completely gone.
Effects of Shark Cartilage Polysaccharides on Serum Antioxidant Capacity in Mice.
That's because the aforementioned book based the alleged value of shark cartilage supplements on a faulty premise.
In no way, however, could we continue telling cancer patients that shark cartilage might help them when our own findings showed it did not work.
Patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer did not live longer when researchers added AE-941 (Neovastat), a shark cartilage extract, to standard chemoradiotherapy in a 53-site phase III trial presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
CAPPs use was determined by asking, "Have you used any complementary or alternative treatments for your brain tumor?" Participants were instructed to answer yes or no to a list of the following modalities: biologically based treatments, such as high-dose vitamins, herbs, macrobiotic diet, shark cartilage, neoplastins, hydrazine; alternative medical systems, such as Chinese medicine or acupuncture; energy-based therapies, such as faith healing; and mind-body modalities, such as meditation.
'So to have another accident is of some concern and as I said the investigation will be full and thorough.' Morriston burns unit is a specialist department where doctors use the latest equipment including synthetic skin made from shark cartilage. Families of those killed and injured in the 2001 blast furnace explosion were full of praise for the work of surgeons and other staff at the Morriston burns unit.
Others contain vitamins and minerals and such exotic extracts as shark cartilage. They could be taken to be, if you accepted all the blurb, the next best thing to having a facelift without going under the knife.
Vegetarians with osteoarthritis may have a special problem with some remedies such as glucosamine and chondroitin, shark cartilage, bovine cartilage, collagen, and cetyl myristoleate.
However a topical application of a preparation containing glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and shark cartilage reduced, within 4 weeks, pain related to knee OA to a significantly greater extend than a placebo cream.
After moving on to Panama, he began developing shark cartilage products--an effort that cost him "many years, much effort, and a great deal of money." Researchers were already looking into possible therapeutic benefits of bovine cartilage for an array of diseases, but he believed that because sharks seemed immune from cancer (a claim that has since been disproved), their cartilage would be superior for angiogenesis inhibition.