Cartilage is the firm, whitish, flexible connective tissue found in various forms in the larynx and respiratory tract, in structures such as the external ear, and in the articulating surfaces of joints. It is more widespread in the infant skeleton, being replaced by bone during growth.
Structural Components of Cartilage
Cartilage is an important structural component of the body. The 3 main structural components of our bodies are bone, muscle, and cartilage. Bones are rigid, while muscles bend, stretch, and are flexible. Cartilage connective tissue is the perfect halfway point between these other tissues. It is a dense tissue, but it is softer and much more flexible than bone. Cartilage is a resilient and smooth elastic tissue, covering and protecting the areas which require conservation- for example the cartilage in one’s nose.
Cartilage is made up of specialized cells called chondrocytes. These chondrocytes produce large amounts of extracellular matrix composed of collagen fibres, proteoglycan, and elastin fibers. There are no blood vessels in cartilage to supply the chondrocytes with nutrients. Due to the lack of blood vessels, cartilage grows and repairs more slowly than other tissues.
Breaking Down Nasal Cartilage
The septal nasal cartilage, (cartilage of the septum or quadrangular cartilage) is composed of hyaline cartilage. It is somewhat quadrilateral in form, thicker at its margins than at its center, and completes the separation between the nasal cavities in front.
The nasal cartilages are the framework around in the inner/outer layers of the nose that provide form and support.
- Accessory nasal cartilages
- Accessory nasal cartilages are small nasal cartilages that link the greater alar (nostril) and lateral nasal cartilages.
- Cartilage of the septum
- Cartilage of the septum — also known as the quadrangular cartilage because it is roughly quadrilateral in shape — separates the nostrils. It also connects the nasal bones and the lateral cartilages.
- Greater alar cartilage
- Greater alar cartilage is a flexible cartilage that forms part of the structure of the nostrils.
- Lateral nasal cartilage
- Lateral nasal cartilage is a triangular structure, located below the nasal bone.
- Lesser alar cartilages
- Lesser alar cartilages are three or four small nasal cartilages connected to the upper jawbone.
- Vomeronasal cartilage
- Vomeronasal cartilage, also known as Jacobson’s cartilage, connects the nasal septum (the wall of cartilage that separates the two airways of the nose) and the vomer bone (a thin, flat bone that separates the nostrils). It was named in 1809 by Dutch anatomist, Ludwig Levin Jacobson. It is close to, but not actually connected with, the vomeronasal organ of Jacobson, which is the body’s scent organ that detects pheromones, chemicals that may affect the behaviors of others who smell them.