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Joints and Connective tissue—structure and function 

Joints and Connective tissue—structure and function
Chapter:
Joints and Connective tissue—structure and function
Source:
Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)
Author(s):

Thomas Pap

, Adelheid Korb-Pap

, Christine Hartmann

, and Jessica Bertrand

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199642489.003.0056_update_001
Previous versions of this chapter are available. To view earlier versions of this chapter view the full site here.

Synovial joints are complex functional elements of the vertebrate body that provide the organism with motion capabilities and, thus, with the ability for locomotion and for direct physical interaction with its environment. They are composed of different connective tissues structures that are derived from the same developmental structures in the embryo, but have distinct cellular and biochemical properties. Articular cartilage and synovial membrane are key components of synovial joints and show a number of peculiarities that makes them different from other tissues in our body. An in-depth knowledge of these structural and functional peculiarities is not only important for understanding key features of articular function, but also provides explanations for important characteristics of both degenerative and inflammatory joint diseases. This chapter reviews the structure, biochemical composition, and function of articular cartilage and synovium, and points to important links between physiology and pathological conditions, particularly arthritis. Special emphasis is put on the interaction of resident cells with both the extracellular matrix and other neighbouring or invading cells.

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