A type of connective tissue that is firm and flexible and having an extracellular matrix comprised mainly of chondroitin sulphate
Connective tissues are one of the four major types of animal tissues. They are further classified into loose connective tissues, dense connective tissues, cartilage tissues and other connective tissues, such as bone tissues, blood, and lymphatics. Cartilage is a type of connective tissue whose extracellular matrix contains large amounts of mucopolysaccharide, particularly chondroitin sulphate. The cellular component of cartilage tissues is the chondrocytes. The chondrocytes are chondroblasts that became trapped in the extracellular matrix. The chondrocytes are responsible for the diffusion of nutrients and substances, and the repair of the matrix.
The cartilage tissues are found in areas of high wear, such as bone ends, intervertebral discs, and joints. They are also found in the rib cage, the ear, the nose, and in the larynx. The cartilage tissues, compared to bone tissues, are more flexible and elastic. In certain animals including humans, the cartilage serves as the early skeletal framework at the embryonic stage. As the animal develops, the cartilage tissues are replaced by bone tissues (which are mineralized connective tissues). In cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes), the adult fish retains a cartilaginous skeleton.
The cartilage has three main types: (1) elastic cartilage, (2) hyaline cartilage, and (3) fibrocartilage.