Hyaline cartilage (lavender matrix), with perichondrium (pink) outside it. The latter is a
dense regular collagenous c.t.. There are collagenous and elastic fibers lying in the cartilage
matrix but they are invisible because their refractive index is the same as that of the matrix.
Cartilage cells = chondrocytes, and they are lying in the lacunae.
Electron micrograph of a chondrocyte in its lacuna and almost entirely filling the lacunar space.
Notice that the cell has many fine cytoplasmic projections when viewed by electron microscopy.
There are surrounded by heavily condensed ground substance which appears less dense on the other
side of the cell.
Appositional growth of cartilage by conversion of long, thin perichondrial cells (at the right)
into the round, large chondrocytes. Notice how they change shape as they lay matrix down around
themselves. The cells of the outer perichondrium are fibroblasts; the inner perichondrial cells
include some primitive connective tissue cells which differentiate into chondroblasts and then
into chondrocytes as they lay down matrix and become embedded in it.
Hyaline cartilage with quite basophilic matrix immediately surrounding the lacunae. Cells are
often grouped in "nests" (or isogenous groups) as a result of earlier mitoses and nowhere for cells
to move apart. (This is called interstitial growth). (The "ripple lines" in the matrix here are
due to uneven cutting of the section.)
Fibrocartilage, with wispy, broad collagenic fibers predominating in the matrix. They look
"cotton-y", unlike the sharply defined elastic fibers seen before. Notice that the cells are lying
Fibrocartilage, at the point of junction between hyaline cartilage (lavender) above and dense
collagenous tissue (pink) below. The combination of chondrocytes, matrix, and visible wispy
collagenic strands or fibers identifies this as fibrocartilage.
Section of compact ground bone - dry and unstained - showing cross-cuts of Haversian systems. In
the center of each system is an Haversian canal which carries blood vessels. With so many such
systems per unit volume of bone, we can say that bone is a well vascularized tissue. (By contrast,
cartilage is avascular.)
Higher power of ground compact bone. You can see on the left that a central vascular channel
(Haversian canal) is surrounded by concentric lamellae (layers) of bone. These lamellae are made up
of collagenous fibers and inorganic salt matrix. The lamellae in the center of the picture are
interstitial lamellae, left over from earlier Haversian systems that have been partially resorbed
as new systems were laid down during the constant remodelling of the bone as it formed. Black spaces
air-filled lacunae in which osteocytes once lived.
Detail of Haversian system, showing the tiny, spidery canaliculi extending from one lacuna to the
next. In life these canaliculi held the processes of osteocytes thus permitting diffusion of
nutrients from the central blood vessels to the outer lamellae of the Haversian system.
Detail of lacuna, showing radiating canaliculi. Tissue fluid from the capillaries and connective
tissue of the Haversian canal can seep through these spaces and channels, bringing nutrients to the
stellate osteocytes residing there.
EM of osteocyte in lacuna. The cytoplasm of the cell contains rough endoplasmic reticulum for the
production of protein collagen, some of which can be seen lying immediately around the cell. The
collagen becomes masked by black apatite (CaPO4) crystals as the matrix becomes mineralized.
High power EM of contact between two neighboring osteocytes whose processes have met in a
canaliculus. Close examination of the contact shows fused outer leaflets of cell membrane (note
three dark lines), indicating that this is a tight junction. Osteocytes are also known to make
contact by means of gap junctions.
Low power view of a cross-cut shaft of decalcified long bone. The bone itself is pink and lies in
the center of the field. The pinkness is due to the staining of collagen fibers in the lamellae.
To the left is bone marrow; to the right is attaching skeletal muscle.
Vascular elements from bone marrow (on the left) are continuous with vascular spaces within the
bone. The endosteum lining the marrow cavity is therefore continuous with the endosteal linning of
Detail of bone-forming osteoblasts lined up along the inner (endosteal) edge of bone next to the
marrow cavity. In young bones growth continues in width, constantly laying down bone and resorbing
it and laying down more. Real width, of course, increases by the laying down of periosteal bone on
the outside of the bone, but activity continues on the endosteal surface also. Notice osteocytes
inside the bony substance, lying in lacunae.
Detail of osteocytes in lacunae. The collagenous fibers of the decalcified matrix are quite
acidophilic, as always. Osteocytes like these are present in both compact and spongy bone; their
arrangement, however, is in concentric lamellae in compact bone and in randomly arranged lamellae in
spongy bone. Remember, too, that osteocytes have processes which extend out into canaliculi in
both kinds of bone.