Ever thought about why does the tip of your nose feels spongy? Or how can the ear without any bones still stiff? Well, these two are composed of cartilages.
cartilage are structural components of the body. These belong to the category of specialized connective tissues. Before the development of bones in the embryo, the cartilages provide mechanical support to the embryo. These are elastic in nature and provide padding like support to the tissues and organs it surrounds. ‘It is not as hard and rigid as bone, but it is much stiffer and much less flexible than muscle. The matrix of cartilage is made up of glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, collagen fibers and, sometimes, elastin’.
· These are soft and simple structures
· These lack blood vessels and proper blood supply
· It is composed of specialized cells called the chondrocytes,
· These chondrocytes produce extracellular matrix
· The chondrocytes are bound in lacunae. Since they are bound, they cannot leave the site to repair any damage
· A cartilage grows unidirectionally, that is, it can only grow from one of its either sides
· It does not consist of any bone marrow
· The matrix of a cartilage consists only organic salts
· Neither harversian canal nor Volkmann canal are present in a cartilage
· The different types of cartilages are – hyaline cartilage, elastin cartilage and fibrous cartilage
· It is found in the ears, nose tips, between vertebrae and spinal cord, at the ends of ribs etc.
· Lubricin, a type of glycoprotein that is abundant in cartilage and synovial fluid, helps to provide lubrication and in turn prevents wearing and tearing
Bones and cartilage provide mechanical strength to the body. The bone marrow is the site of production of B cells and T cells, a site of maturation of B cells. A bone marks strength whereas cartilage acts as a shock absorber.
I hope this answer helps.