Fibrocartilage is the strongest of the cartilage types and blends the strength of dense connective tissue (left) with the non-compressible ground substance of cartilage (right). Fibrocartilage exists in isolated regions where extra strength is needed. It does not exist as an independent cartilage mass and therefore has no perichondrium. 400x, 400x, 400x
Dense connective tissue >
The left image is of dense irregular connective tissue. Collagen fiber bundles (black arrows) provide its strength and a few, scattered, flattened fibroblast nuclei (green arrows) are visible. The space between the fibers is filled with a thin, gelatinous ground substance (blue arrows), that provides minimal resistance to compression forces.
Hyaline cartilage >
The matrix of hyaline cartilage (X’s) is extensive and consists of a semi-rigid ground substance with numerous, fine collagen fibers (not visible). This composition allows hyaline cartilage to resist compression while remaining flexible. The matrix is produced by chondrocytes (arrows) which are present singly and in clusters.
Fibrocartilage is a hybrid between dense connective tissue and hyaline cartilage. Its abundant collagen bundles (black arrows) provide strength. The scattered hyaline cartilage cells (green arrows) produce matrix between the collagen fibers to resist compressional forces.