A connective tissue characterized by its nonvascularity and firm consistency; consists of cells (chondrocytes), an interstitial matrix of fibers (collagen), and ground substance (proteoglycans). There are three kinds of cartilage: hyaline cartilage, elastic cartilage, and fibrocartilage. Nonvascular, resilient, flexible connective tissue found primarily in joints, the walls of the thorax, and tubular structures (larynx, air passages, and ears); makes up most of the skeleton in early fetal life, but is slowly replaced by bone. For a gross anatomic description, see cartilago and its subentries.
[L. cartilago (cartilagin-), gristle]
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