Difference Between Hyaline Cartilage and Elastic Cartilage

Hyaline cartilage and elastic cartilage are two different cartilage forms. The connective tissue in the human body is called cartilage. It is flexible.


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The expansion and structure of bones totally depend on the cartilage. During the fetus’s development, the cartilage plays a vital role.

Hyaline Cartilage vs Elastic Cartilage

The difference between hyaline cartilage and elastic cartilage is their appearance.

The hyaline cartilage has a glassy appearance, whereas elastic cartilage has a yellowy appearance.

Hyaline is the most common type of cartilage in the human body, whereas elastic is the least common type of cartilage in the human body.

The hyaline cartilage is white, whereas elastic cartilage is yellow.

Hyaline Cartilage vs Elastic Cartilage

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The word hyaline means glass. It has a glass-like appearance so it is called hyaline cartilage. It is found in translucent cartilage. It is also found in the nose and larynx.

Pearl-grey color is the hyaline cartilage. The hyaline cartilage has a firm consistency.

The amount of collagen is also considerable in hyaline cartilage. There are no nerves and blood vessels in hyaline cartilage.

The structure of hyaline cartilage is very simple and easy to identify.

The elastic cartilage is also called yellow cartilage for its yellowish appearance. This cartilage is present in the ear of the human body.

Elastic cartilage is responsible for the shape of the external auditory meatus. The external auditory meatus is corniculate, eustachian tube, and cuneiform.

The elasticity and elastin fibers are rich in elastic cartilage. Like hyaline cartilage, the elastic cartilage also has type II collagen. The primary protein of elastic cartilage is elastin.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonHyaline CartilageElastic Cartilage
ColorHyaline cartilage is milk-whiteElastic cartilage is yellow
Found inHyaline cartilage is found in ribs, trachea and noseElastic cartilage is found in the larynx and ear
FlexibilityHyaline cartilage is less flexibleElastic cartilage is more flexible
ElasticityHyaline cartilage has less elasticityElastic cartilage has more elasticity
FibersHyaline cartilage has less elastin fibersElastic cartilage has more fibers

What is Hyaline Cartilage?

The perichondrium is a fibrous substance that covers the hyaline cartilage and gives protection to the cartilage. By the process called diffusion, this membrane will provide nutrients to the cartilage.

It is called a synovial membrane when it works along articulating surfaces. Type II collagen is present in the hyaline cartilage.

Other than type II college it also has chondroitin sulfate.

The ends of the ribs and larynx are rich in hyaline cartilage. Hyaline cartilage is responsible for the structure of the body.

The hyaline cartilage has more flexibility but has limited mobility. The hyaline cartilage is also responsible for embryonic skeleton development in the fetus.

This process of developing embryonic development is nothing but elasmobranch fish. Chondrocytes are cells which is rich in hyaline cartilage.

The chondrocytes cells look bluntly angular in shape. When chondrocytes are in contact they make straight lines, and the rest are in rounded form.

The chondrocytes are rich in protoplasm which are minute granules.

There is an artificial gap between the cavities of the cartilage, that gaps are called cartilage lacunae. There is more amount of collagen present in the isogenous cell groups.

Only these collagen groups help in the structure of the body. On the articular surfaces of the human body, there is a presence of articular cartilage which is nothing but hyaline cartilage.

The superficial zone of articular cartilage contains more amount of collagen fibers. Osteoarthritis is the state of the biological breakdown of articular cartilage.

What is Elastic Cartilage?

By histological, hyaline cartilage and elastic cartilage have similar properties. But the elastic cartilage is rich in yellow fibers which is elastic in nature.

The yellow fibers in elastic cartilage are a solid matrix inside. Haematoxylin and eosin are the two special stains used for the yellow fibers in elastic cartilage.

The greater flexibility of the elastic cartilage is achieved by these yellow fibers. Instead of hematoxylin and eosin, Weigert’s stain and orcein are also used.

Elastic cartilage is also rich in chondrocytes like hyaline cartilage. There is a space between these chondrocytes, which is called lacuna.

The outer layer of elastic cartilage is the perichondrium. The epiglottis and pinnae have this membrane.

When the elastin fibers react with the Verhoeff stain it becomes purple or black in appearance.

The edges of the perichondrium contain chondroblasts which are responsible for the production of the extracellular matrix.

Elastic cartilage has elastic chains, which are produced by the process called co-polymerize. In co-polymerize, the fibrillin combines with elastin fibers.

The elastic chains undergo several structure reformations. It becomes disorganized by tensile pressure and becomes organized by releasing the pressure.

The elastic cartilage is responsible for the structure and provides support to the human body.

Main Differences Between Hyaline Cartilage and Elastic Cartilage

  1. When compared to elastic cartilage, Hyaline cartilage has a fewer amount of elastin fibers.
  2. The elasticity of hyaline cartilage is low, whereas the elasticity of elastic cartilage is high.
  3. Hyaline cartilage looks milky white, whereas elastic cartilage looks yellow.
  4. Hyaline cartilage is found in four different parts of the human body, whereas elastic cartilage is found in two parts of the human body.
  5. When compared to elastic cartilage, the size of chondrocytes is larger in elastic cartilage.
Difference Between Hyaline Cartilage and Elastic Cartilage
  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/000348949009900509
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00221374
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