Bone vs. Cartilage

The difference between bone and cartilage is that bone is hard while cartilage is soft. Both are forms of connective tissues.

Bone vs. Cartilage
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

There are many differences between bone and cartilage. Both are types of connective tissues. Connective tissues are the tissues which connect two or more structures in the body. Bones are the major part of the skeleton in the body while cartilage is present in ear, ribs, larynx, nose, and joints. The major function of cartilage is a shock absorbing effect.

Bones are also known as osteocytes while cartilages are known as chondrocytes.

Bones are hard and complex structures and composed of connective tissues. They protect and maintain the shape of our body in the form of a skeleton. Cartilage is a simple structure also composed of connective tissue, but it is soft. They provide resilience and flexibility to the joints and provide a shock absorbing effect.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Bones tough, nonflexible and rigid while cartilages are soft, non-rigid, flexible and elastic. Bones are bidirectional when talked about growth while cartilages grow in only one direction, i.e., they are unidirectional.

The key structure in the bone is the Haversian system and Volkmann’s canal while the Haversian system and Volkmann’s canals are not present in the cartilage.

Hematopoietic tissue, i.e., bone marrow is present inside the bones. No such tissues are present in the cartilage. Thus bones actively take part in the supply of blood cells while cartilages do not take part in the supply of blood cells.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Deposits of phosphates and carbonates of calcium are present in the matrix of bone. These salts of calcium are the reason for the hard structure of bone. The matrix of cartilage is composed of sugars and proteins.

Bones form the skeleton of our body which is responsible for the shape of our body. While cartilages are present in trachea, ear, nose, and larynx.

There are two types of bones, i.e., compact bone and spongy bone while there are three types of cartilages, i.e., fibrocartilage, elastic cartilage, and hyaline cartilage.

Comparison chart

Basis Bone Cartilage
Definition Bone is a form of complex connective tissue which is hard in consistency. Cartilage is a form of simple connective tissue which is soft in consistency.
Function Bones form the skeleton which provides the shape and support to our body. Cartilages are found in ribs, larynx, trachea, nose, and esophagus. They provide the shock absorbing effect.
Cells Bones forming cells are also called osteocytes. Cartilage forming cells are called chondrocytes.
Properties They are tough, not flexible, rigid and hard structure. They are resilient, nonrigid, elastic and soft structures.
Matrix composition The matrix of bone is composed of phosphates and carbonates of calcium. These salts of calcium provide bone hardness. The matrix of cartilage is composed of sugars and proteins. This is the reason for resilience and elasticity of cartilage.
Hematopoietic tissues Hematopoietic tissue is found in its matrix. Hematopoietic tissue is not found in its matrix.
Ability to produce blood cells Blood cells can be produced from bone marrow when needed. Blood cells are not produced by cartilages.
Key structure Haversian system and Volkmann’s canal form the structure of a bone. Haversian system and Volkmann’s canal are not present in cartilage.
Types There are two types of bones, i.e., compact bones and spongy bone. There are three types of cartilages, i.e., elastic cartilage, hyaline cartage, and fibrocartilage.

What is Bone?

Bone is a type of connective tissue which is tough, rigid, nonelastic and hard in nature. Bones form the skeletal system of our body which function to support the body and maintains its shape. The key structure of a bone consists of a Haversian system and Volkmann’s canal. There are three types of bone cells, i.e., osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and osteocytes.

Osteoblasts are immature bone cells which have the potential to form mature bone cells called osteocytes when needed. Osteoclasts are the bone-dissolving cells which dissolve the extra bone which is produced during the healing of a fracture. Bone marrow contains hematopoietic tissue which has the ability to produce blood cells when needed. Red blood cells are produced by bone marrow in adults.  

The matrix of the bone contains the deposits of phosphates and carbonates salts of calcium which gives the bone hardness. There are two types of bones, i.e., compact bone and spongy bone. Bones have the ability to grow in both directions. The process of bone formation is termed ossification.

What are Cartilages?

Cartilage is also a sort of connective tissue which is not tough and hard. It is soft, resilient and elastic in nature and found in nose, ear, ribs, trachea, esophagus and some other body parts. The matrix of cartilage contains proteins and sugar, and that is the reason for its softness. Cartilage is found in that body parts where shock absorbing effect is needed. Cartilage does not have hematopoietic tissues, and thus it cannot produce blood cells. It does not have a Haversian system like bone. Opposite to bone, cartilage can grow only in one direction. Cartilage forming cells are called chondrocytes while immature cartilage cells are called chondroblasts which have the potential to form mature cells. When at the site of fracture a bone heals, first a cartilaginous structure is formed which is then converted into bone.

There are three types of cartilages, i.e., Hyaline Cartilage, Elastic Cartilage, and Fibro Cartilage.

Key differences

  1. Bones are tough and hard connective tissue while cartilages are resilient and soft connective tissue.
  2. The function of bones is to provide shape and support to our body while that of cartilage is to provide shock absorbing effect.
  3. Bones can grow in both directions at a time while cartilage can grow only in one direction.
  4. Bone marrow has the ability to produce blood cells while cartilage cannot produce blood cells.
  5. The matrix of bone contains phosphates and carbonates of calcium while the matrix of cartilage contains proteins and sugars.
  6. Bones are of two types, i.e., spongy bone and compact bone while cartilage is of three types, i.e., hyaline cartilage, elastic cartilage, and fibrocartilage.

Conclusion

Bones and cartilages are two key structures found in our body. Both are types of connective tissues. It is important to know the differences between them. In the above article, we learned the clear differences between bone and cartilage.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Leave a Comment