Chondrocytes (from Greek χόνδρος, chondros = cartilage + κύτος, kytos = cell) are the only cells found in healthy cartilage. They produce and maintain the cartilaginous matrix, which consists mainly of collagen and proteoglycans. Although the word chondroblast is commonly used to describe an immature chondrocyte, the term is imprecise, since the progenitor of chondrocytes (which are mesenchymal stem cells) can differentiate into various cell types, including osteoblasts.
DifferentiationFrom least- to terminally-differentiated, the chondrocytic lineage is:
- Colony-forming unit- fibroblast (CFU-F)
- Mesenchymal stem cell / marrow stromal cell (MSC)
- Hypertrophic chondrocyte