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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
Author(s):

Thomas Pap

, Adelheid Korb-Pap

, Christine Hartmann

, and Jessica Bertrand

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0442
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date: 02 March 2021

Synovial joints are complex functional elements of the vertebrate body that provide animals with motion capabilities and hence the ability for locomotion and direct physical interaction with their 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 several peculiarities that makes them different from other tissues. An in-depth knowledge of these features is important not only for understanding key features of articular function, but also providing 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 pathologic conditions, particularly arthritis.

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