Cartilage

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Cartilage is a type of connective tissue that does not commonly come across the pathologist's desk.

It comes in three flavours:[1][2]

  1. Hyaline cartilage, e.g. trachea.
  2. Fibrocartilage, e.g. intervertebral disc.
  3. Elastic cartilage, e.g. epiglottis.

General

Features of cartilage:[3]

  • Avascular.
  • Extracellular matrix with bluish tinge.
  • Round cells.

Differential diagnosis

Cartilage - general for the site:[4]

Normal

Hyaline cartilage

Microscopic

Features:[5]

  • Chondrocytes within small pockets (lacunae) of extracellular matrix.
    • Chondrocytes:
      • Spherical nucleus.
      • Prominent nucleolus.
      • Clear cytoplasm.
    • Extracellular matrix:
      • Blue-white appearance on H&E stain -- key feature.

Image:

Perichondrium

Microscopic

Features:

  • Around cartilage.
    • Increased cellular density.
    • Spindle cells with poorly defined cellular borders in an eosinophilic (fibrous) stroma.

Images:

Tumours

Tumours of cartilage are dealt with in the article chondro-osseous tumours together with bone tumours.

Specific diagnoses

Synovial chondromatosis

  • AKA synovial osteochondromatosis.

See also

References

  1. Young, Barbara; Lowe, James S.; Stevens, Alan; Heath, John W.; Deakin, Philip J. (2000). Wheaters Functional Histology (4th ed.). Churchill Livingstone. pp. 173-5. ISBN 978-0004881973.
  2. URL: http://www.lab.anhb.uwa.edu.au/mb140/CorePages/Cartilage/Cartil.htm. Accessed on: 2 January 2011.
  3. Cormack, David H. (2001). Essential Histology (2nd ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 178-9. ISBN 978-0781716680.
  4. Krenn, V.; Morawietz, L.; König, A.; Haeupl, T. (Nov 2006). "[Differential diagnosis of chronic synovitis].". Pathologe 27 (6): 402-8. doi:10.1007/s00292-006-0866-6. PMID 17031677.
  5. Cormack, David H. (2001). Essential Histology (2nd ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 178. ISBN 978-0781716680.
  6. URL: http://apbrwww5.apsu.edu/thompsonj/Anatomy%20&%20Physiology/2010/2010%20Exam%20Reviews/Exam%201%20Review/Ch04%20Mineralized%20Connective%20Tissues.htm. Accessed on: 19 September 2012.