Cartilage and bone are considered connective tissues. As was true with the connective tissues proper, these tissues contain various amounts and types of matrix, fibers and cells. Included here are:

Hyaline Cartilage


Elastic Cartilage



At the left the bracket indicates the hyaline cartilage. At the right this tissue is more highly magnified. The chondrocytes (A) are located in lacunae (C). The matrix (B) contain collagen fibers that are so fine they are not visible in tissue preparations.

Locations: "C" rings in the trachea, nose, articular ends of bones, fetal skeleton
Function: precursor to bone, support



Elastic cartilage is contained within the bracket at the left. This tissue is more highly magnified at the right. The chondrocytes (A) are contained in lacunae (C). The matrix (B) contains abundant elastic fibers.These fibers give great flexibility to this tissue.

Locations: ear, auditory canal, epiglottis
Functions: flexible support



These micrographs are of intervertebral disc tissue. At the left fibrocartilage is found in the area between the parallel lines. This cartilage type is recognized by chondrocytes (A) oriented in rows. Even when the tissue is highly magnified (as at the right), the lacunae, which hold the chondrocytes, are not visible. The matrix (B) contains numerous fine collagen fibers. These fibers give the tissue durability.

Locations: pubic symphysis, intervertebral discs
Functions: supports, withstands compression



In the compact bone micrograph at the left, several complete osteons are visible. In the center of the osteon is the central canal (A) which hold the blood vessels and a nerve. These canals are surrounded by concentric rings of inorganic matrix, the lamellae (B). Between the lamellae are bone cells, the osteocytes (C) located in lacunae. Nutrients diffuse from cell to cell through the canaliculi (D).

Location: skeleton
Function: framework, protection


This page was last updated in August, 1997.

All micrographs are the property of Sherri Wick. Students of Biology 2740 and 2840 are welcome to use this page in the study and review of lecture and lab materials in the Human Physiology and Anatomy courses.

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Author: Sherri Wick, Coordinator and Instructor - Human Physiology and Anatomy Laboratories
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Allwine Hall 211E, 554-2343