A bone is a hard connective tissue, while cartilage is soft connective tissue. Bones form the skeletal structure of the body, whereas cartilage is present in nose, ear, ribs, larynx, and joints and also act as a shock absorber in these joints.
Bones protect against the mechanical damage and supports the movement of the body, provide shape to the body. And as cartilage being soft they are usually found along the respiratory tract, between the joints and in other flexible parts of the body.
Our body’s skeletal system is made up of bones and cartilage. They provide proper shape, rigidity to the body. Both protect the delicate organs from internal and external shock also. They are also responsible for movement and locomotion of the body, along with the flexibility. In this content, we will take up the important differences between both along with their functions.
Content: Bones Vs Cartilage
|Basis for Comparison||Bone||Cartilage|
|Meaning||Bones are the complex structure, made up of connective tissues which are hard and are helpful in providing protection, shape to the body.||Cartilage is the simple structure, made up of connective tissue which is soft and are useful in providing flexibility to the joints and also protect from the external and internal shocks.|
|Features||They are rigid, non-flexible, and tough.||They are flexible and are soft-elastic.|
|Bones grow in both directions (bidirectional).||Cartilage grows in single direction (unidirectional).|
|Haversian system and Volkmann's canals are present.||Haversian system and Volkmann's canals are absent.|
|Bone marrow is present (it is a kind of haematopoietic tissue from which all blood cells are made).||Bone marrow is absent.|
|Lacunae possess canaliculi where each lacuna consist of only one cell (osteocyte).||Lacunae do not possess canaliculi, and each lacuna has two-three chondrocytes.|
|These are active participants of blood supply.||They are not the participants in blood supply, except in perichondrium.|
|Matrix consist of the protein called ossein and can be both organic and inorganic. They occur in lamellae and are vascular. They have the deposit of calcium salts largely of calcium phosphate.||The matrix consists of the protein called chondrin, and they are organic. In cartilage, a matrix is said to be as homogenous mass without lamellae. They do not possess calcium salts.|
|Bones cells are also known as Osteocytes.||Cartilage cells are also known as Chondrocytes.|
|Bones are hard due to the deposition of phosphates and carbonates of calcium in the matrix.||Cartilage is soft, except the calcified cartilage and matrix is made up of proteins and sugars.
|They are responsible for the formation of the skeletal system, which gives the shape to the body.||Cartilage is found in ear, nose, larynx and trachea.|
1. Compact bone.
2. Elastic cartilage.
3. Hyaline cartilage.
Definition of Bones
As said above bone is a rigid tissue of a body, mainly made up material like collagen and calcium phosphate. It is made up of connective tissue. These bone tissues assemble to form the bones of the skeletons, the human skeletal system and of the other vertebrates. The human body contains 206 separate bones in the body of an adult.
The largest bone is the femur or thigh-bone, and the smallest bone is the stapes, which is present in the middle ear. Bones are present in five different shapes in the human body which are flat, long, short, irregular and sesamoid.
Another fact is that more than 99 percent of the body is present in the bones and teeth and the rest 1 percent is found in the blood. Vertebrates are the only organisms on the earth, whose body consists of bones. Rest among modern vertebrates it is found in bony fish and in higher classes.
The basic functions of bones are:
1. It provides the structural support to the soft tissue, internal organs against the various mechanical action performed by them like contraction and relaxation of muscles of heart, lungs, etc.
2. It also acts as a protective site for the special tissues like bone marrow (blood-forming system).
3. It is also responsible for giving shape to the body and act as a mineral reservoir, where it controls the level of calcium and phosphate in the body fluids.
Definition of Cartilage
Cartilage is the kind of connective tissue, but they are soft, firm tissue and are responsible for the flexibility, bending, and muscles stretching. So these are found at the place where along with the support, flexibility is needed like the joints, ears, nose, as well between the spinal column.
Cartilage is nothing but the extracellular matrix present in the connective tissue. This matrix is produced by specialized cells called as chondroblasts. These chondroblasts are found in the matrix of chondrocytes, while lacunae are the space where these cells lie.
The chondrocytes determine the level of flexibility of the cartilage. These are found in the body like the end of the ribs, ears, and nose, bronchial tubes, joints between bones like of elbows, knees, and ankles.
Cartilage is of three types:
1. Elastic Cartilage – This type is found in the ear, as it is the most flexible type.
2. Hyaline Cartilage – This type is found at the end of ribs and in the nose, it is the second most flexible type of cartilage.
3. Fibro Cartilage – This types found in the knee, as well between the spinal column
Key differences between Bones and Cartilage
Given below are the key differences between the Bones and Cartilage:
- Bones are the complex structure, made up of connective tissues which are hard and are helpful in providing protection, shape to the body. While cartilage is the simple structure, made up of connective tissue which is soft, they are also helpful in providing flexibility to the joints along with that of providing safety against the external and internal shocks.
- Bones are rigid, non-flexible, and tough, whereas cartilage is flexible and are soft-elastic.
- Bones grow in both directions (bidirectional) while cartilage grows in the single direction (unidirectional).
- In bone Haversian system, Volkmann’s canals, Bone marrow (it is a kind of hematopoietic tissue from which all blood cells are made) are present; Haversian system and Volkmann’s canals, Bone marrow are absent in cartilage.
- Lacunae possess canaliculi where each lacuna consist of only one cell (osteocyte) in bone, while in cartilage lacunae do not possess canaliculi and each lacuna has two-three chondrocytes.
- Bones are active participants of blood supply; Cartilage are not the participants in blood supply, except in perichondrium.
- The matrix consists of the protein called ossein and can be both organic and inorganic. They occur in lamellae and are vascular. They have the deposit of calcium salts largely of calcium phosphate.
- The matrix consists of the protein called chondrin, and they are organic. In cartilage, the matrix is said to be as homogenous mass without lamellae. They do not possess calcium salts.
- Bones cells are also known as Osteocytes while cartilage cells are also known as Chondrocytes.
- Bones are hard due to the deposition of phosphates and carbonates of calcium in the matrix and cartilage are soft, except the calcified cartilage and their matrix is made up of proteins and sugars.
- Bones are responsible for the formation of the skeletal system, which gives the shape to the body, whereas cartilage is found in ear, nose, larynx, and trachea.
- Bones are of two types – Compact bone and Spongy bone, while cartilage is of three types – Fibrocartilage, Elastic cartilage, Hyaline cartilage.
As from the above article, we come to know the importance of connective tissue in maintaining the rigidity, shapes, safety of the body’s and its essential parts. As apart from muscles, bones and cartilage act as the main structural components of the body.