The chondrocyte

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2003 Apr;35(4):401-4. doi: 10.1016/s1357-2725(02)00301-1.


The chondrocyte is the resident cell of cartilage that is a prominent tissue in the embryo acting as a template for the development of skeletal elements. In the adult, the distribution of permanent cartilage is much more restricted and is necessary for mechanical support, growth and movement. The cell is isolated within a voluminous extracellular matrix (ECM) that is neither vascularised nor innervated. As a result, nutrient/waste exchange occurs through diffusion and, consequently, under normal and pathological conditions, the cell is unique in its ability to exist in a low oxygen tension environment. Partly as a result of these properties, the tissue has a low reparative potential that, in the case of articular cartilage, predisposes the tissue to degenerative conditions such as arthritis that is a significant clinical problem. Cellfacts. Cytoplasmically isolated. High matrix/cell volume ratio. Do not divide after skeletal maturity unless during pathology. Major contributor to growth of the body. Most energy requirements obtained through glycolysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis / metabolism
  • Arthritis / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism*
  • Chondrocytes / ultrastructure
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice


  • Collagen