What Is the Function of Hyaline Cartilage?

Hyaline cartilage tissue reduces friction at joints, supports bronchial and tracheal tubes, and acts as a shock absorber between vertebrae. It also maintains the shape and the flexibility of fleshy appendages.

Hyaline cartilage is the most common type of cartilage in the human body. It covers the connection between the ribs and the sternum, the articular surfaces, the walls of the bronchi and the trachea, and the temporary skeletal system that is later replaced by bone. In an embryo, bones first form as hyaline cartilage, prior to ossifying, as growth and development progresses. During childhood, it is present in the epiphyseal plate, which is responsible for the elongation of bones.

The basic tissue in hyaline cartilage consists mainly of amorphous components. Hyaline cartilage is covered by a vascular, innervated fibrous membrane, known as the perichondrium. The perichondrium is formed by fibrocytes and dense collagenous tissue. This membrane has blood vessels that supply the hyaline cartilage with necessary nutrients. It also carries away metabolic waste.

The perichondrium membrane is absent in hyaline cartilage found immediately under the skin and at the articular terminals. Since the articular ends are not covered by the perichondrium membrane, they obtain nutrients from the synovial fluid through diffusion.