Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger,
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed
A. Rat, Helly's fluid, Mallory's stain, 612 x.
B. Rat, Helly's fluid, toluidine blue and erythrosin, 612 x.
Perichondrium: A dense layer of irregular fibrous connective tissue that always invests hyaline cartilage except at the free surfaces of articular cartilage. Note how the perichondrium in A is better shown by a connective tissue stain (Mallory's) specific for collagen.
Chondrocytes: Two or more cartilage cells enclosed within smooth-walled spaces or lacunae. Note the centrally placed, large spherical nuclei (isogenous grouping). The vacuolation noted in the cytoplasm of chondrocytes is an artifact of processing resulting from poor preservation of fat droplets and glycogen. Note the rounded appearance of chondrocytes centrally located and the flattened appearance of cells near the perichondrium.
Matrix: Derived from a Latin word meaning womb, matrix is a place where something is formed and a medium enclosing other bodies. The matrix is composed of ground substance (protein polysaccharicle) and connective tissue fibers. It fills the space between chondrocytes. In B, note the metachromasia of the matrix stained with toluidine blue. The metachromasia is due to the high content of chondroitin sulfate.
Capsule: The walls of the lacunae are referred to as a capsule. The capsule is a condensation of the matrix surrounding the lacunae.
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