Hypertrophic Zone of Epiphyseal Plate.jpg
Chondrocytes of hyaline cartilage showing organelles, lacunae and matrix.
Latin chondrocytus
Code TH H2.

Chondrocytes (from Greek chondros cartilage + kytos cell) are the only cells found in cartilage. They produce and maintain the cartilaginous matrix, which consists mainly of collagen and proteoglycans. Although chondroblast is still commonly used to describe an immature chondrocyte, use of the term is discouraged, for it is technically inaccurate since the progenitor of chondrocytes (which are mesenchymal stem cells) can also differentiate into osteoblasts. The organization of chondrocytes within cartilage differs depending upon the type of cartilage and where in the tissue they are found.



From least- to terminally-differentiated, the chondrocytic lineage is:

  1. Colony-forming unit-fibroblast (CFU-F)
  2. Mesenchymal stem cell / marrow stromal cell (MSC)
  3. Chondrocyte
  4. Hypertrophic chondrocyte

When referring to bone or cartilage, mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are commonly known as osteochondrogenic (or osteogenic, chondrogenic, osteoprogenitor, etc.) cells since a single MSC has shown the ability to differentiate into chondrocytes or osteoblasts, depending on the medium. In vivo, differentiation of an MSC in a vascularized area (such as bone) yields an osteoblast, whereas differentiation of an MSC in a non-vascularized area (such as cartilage) yields a chondrocyte. Chondrocytes undergo terminal differentiation when they become hypertrophic during endochondral ossification. This last stage is characterized by major phenotypic changes in the cell.


See also


  • Dominici M, Hofmann T, Horwitz E (2001). "Bone marrow mesenchymal cells: biological properties and clinical applications". J Biol Regul Homeost Agents 15 (1): 28–37. PMID 11388742. 
  • Bianco P, Riminucci M, Gronthos S, Robey P (2001). "Bone marrow stromal stem cells: nature, biology, and potential applications". Stem Cells 19 (3): 180–92. doi:10.1634/stemcells.19-3-180. PMID 11359943. 
  • Stem cell information

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • chondrocyte — ● chondrocyte nom masculin Cellule ovoïde à noyau excentré, constitutive du cartilage adulte, dérivant du chondroblaste …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • chondrocyte — noun Etymology: Greek chondros cartilage Date: 1903 a cartilage cell …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Chondrocyte — Les chondrocytes (du grec: χονδρο, cartilage, et χντος, cellule) sont les cellules composant le cartilage. Ce sont des cellules arrondies et volumineuses (d un diamètre de 10 à 40 µm) présentes dans le cartilage. Elles possèdent un noyau… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • chondrocyte — a cell that makes the supporting matrix (collagen) of cartilage; usually found in lacunae embedded in the supportive matrix. Derived from chondroblasts …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • chondrocyte — Differentiated cell responsible for secretion of extracellular matrix of cartilage …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • chondrocyte — noun A cell that makes up the tissue of cartilage …   Wiktionary

  • chondrocyte — A nondividing cartilage cell; occupies a lacuna within the cartilage matrix. SYN: cartilage cell. [chondro + G. kytos, a hollow (cell)] isogenous chondrocytes a clone of cartilage cells derived from one …   Medical dictionary

  • chondrocyte — [ kɒndrə(ʊ)sʌɪt] noun Biology a cell which has secreted the matrix of cartilage and become embedded in it …   English new terms dictionary

  • chondrocyte — chon·dro·cyte …   English syllables

  • chondrocyte — n. a cartilage cell, found embedded in the matrix …   The new mediacal dictionary

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