Author: Vijay Shankar, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 10 August 2017, last major update December 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Joints [title] general histology

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Cite this page: Shankar, V. Histology. website. Accessed February 21st, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Synovial membrane forms boundary of joint space, is firmly anchored to capsule; smooth contour except has numerous villous folds near osseous insertion
  • Synovial lining lacks basement membrane, overlies vascularized loose connective tissue stroma; allows for quick exchange between blood and synovial fluid
  • Synoviocytes:
    • 1 - 4 cells deep over synovial membrane
    • Fibroblast-like cells also associated with macrophages
    • Not present over articular cartilage
    • Produce proteins, hyaluronic acid (lubricant, nutrition for cartilage)
    • Positive for VCAM1, vimentin
    • Negative for keratin
  • Hyaline cartilage:
    • No blood supply, no lymphatics, no innervation
    • Thickest at periphery of concave surfaces and in central portions of convex surfaces
    • Composed of type 2 collagen, water, proteoglycans, chondrocytes
  • Chondrocytes:
    • Synthesize and digest matrix
    • Secrete inactive enzymes and enrich matrix with enzyme inhibitors
  • Tendons: composed of closely packed type 1 collagen fibers and surrounded by connective tissue tendon sheath
  • Collagen: arranged in arches to allow cartilage to resist tensile stresses and to transmit vertical loads
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Normal synovium