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What is cartilage?
Cartilage is an essential structural component of the body.
It is a firm tissue but is softer and much more flexible than bone.
Cartilage,a firm tissue but is softer and much more flexible than bone, is a connective tissue found in many areas of the body.
Cartilage can be found in:
Joints between bones such as the elbows, knees and ankles
Ends of the ribs
Between the vertebrae in the spine
Ears and nose
Bronchial tubes or airways
Cartilage is made up of specialized cells called chondrocytes.
These chondrocytes produce large amounts of extracellular matrix composed of collagen fibres, proteoglycan, and elastin fibers.
There are no blood vessels in cartilage to supply the chondrocytes with nutrients.
However, nutrients diffuse through a dense connective tissue surrounding the cartilage (called the perichondrium) and into the core of the cartilage.
If damaged, cartilage will grow and repair more slowly than other tissues due to the lack of blood vessels.