Bone & joints



Topic Completed: 1 December 2012

Minor changes: 15 October 2021

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Joints [title] general histology

Vijay Shankar, M.D.
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Cite this page: Shankar V. Histology-joints. website. Accessed October 25th, 2021.
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

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