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Specialized Connective Tissue: Cartilage, Bone, Blood
Histology: Connective Tissues
Specialized Connective Tissue: Cartilage, Bone, Blood

Specialized Connective Tissue: Cartilage, Bone, Blood

Author: Aaron Mullally

- know what the three different types of cartilage are

- know the differences between the three different types of cartilage

- know that cartilage is populated by cells called chondrocytes

- know what a chondroblast is and what it does

- know how the fiber composition of the different types of cartilage affects its physical properties

- know how the fiber composition and physical properties of cartilage affect its function

- know where the three types of cartilage are found

- know that bone is composed of osteoblasts, osteocytes, and osteoclasts

- know that the central canal in compact bone (Haversian canal) is surrounded by osteocytes

- know that the circular unit within compact bone is called the osteon and is the functional unit of bone

- know why bone is considered connective tissue from a histology perspective

- know the basic functions of bone

- know the basic functions of blood

- know why blood is considered connective tissue from a histology perspective

This packet will go over the three types of cartilage in depth but only graze over bone and blood. There are whole chapters devoted to bone and blood so at this point in time you only really need to know the very basics of them.

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Overview of the Specialized Connective Tissues

Cartilage is a very rubbery tissue made by cells called chondroblasts. Cartilage does not have any blood vessels within it so healing is not easy if it is damaged and may not occur at all if the damage is extensive enough. There are three types of cartilage in the human body and we tell them apart by the different types of protein fibers within them and how they are arranged. All three types of cartilage contain the same cells, chondrocytes. Chondroblasts are called chondrocytes after they are done producing the cartilage and are just sitting within the rubbery tissue.

- Hyaline cartilage
- very rubbery, soft cartilage
- contains collagen but it is very spread out and widely dispersed
- since it is rubbery yet somewhat tough because of the collagen it is great for reducing friction for example preventing bones from rubbing on bones
- it is found connecting the ribs to the sternum, on the ends of long bones where they come together to form a joint, in the trachea holding it open, and within the larynx

- Elastic cartilage
- this is basically hyaline cartilage that contains lots of elastic protein fibers (elastin)
- this type of cartilage allows for flexibility and makes structures elastic
- found in the external ear and epiglottis

- Fibrocartilage
- this is the most tough of the three
- it is very very densely packed with collagen fibers
- it is very useful for resisting compressive forces and physical shock
- found in three places: intervertebral disks, menisci of the knee, and the pubic symphisis

Now let's talk about bone, which is relatively simple to identify. There are two types of bone, spongy bone and compact bone.

Compact bone
- filled with central canals
- cells (osteocytes) surround the central cannals
- the circle of cells that are formed by each central canal and the cells surrounding it are called the osteon
- we use bone for structural support, protecting soft organs and mineral storage

Spongy bone
- basically bone tissue with many spaces/struts and is covered by compact bone
- this is where you find red bone marrow
- spongy bone is found on the ends of long bones and within flat and in some irregular bones

Blood, there's not much to talk about right now in regard to blood because we have a whole chapter devoted to it. Blood is classified as connective tissue because it contains proteins mixed with water and forms gels. As you know there is much more to blood such as plasma, solutes and cells but for now we'll just keep it basic. We use blood for three major reasons, transportation of gasses and nutrients all around our body, immunity, and controlling bleeding. There are three types of cells you need to know for now, red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets.

Source: The mind of Aaron

Overview of Specialized Connective Tissues

This video discusses cartilage in depth but only breezes through bone and blood. Bone and blood will be covered with more depth later on

Source: Self made with images from Marieb and

Images of Specialized Connective Tissues

Here are some pointers and images of the specialized connective tissues