Collagen: More Powerful Than Muscle

Collagen Vs. Cartilage

Consequences of Cartilage Degradation and Loss:  Cartilage degradation refers to the breakdown and loss of cartilage caused by wear and tear. Osteoporosis is the most common joint disorder resulting from cartilage loss. Without the protective cushion of cartilage, bones rub together and cause pain, inflammation and joint stiffness. It is not uncommon for bone spurs to develop around the unprotected joints. Ligaments and muscles at the hip joint become weak and stiff. Cartilage loss can also result from a tear in the meniscus, or the cartilage disk that cushions the knee joint.

You may not have heard of it, but you use it hundreds of times every day. It is the Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ), the joint where the mandible (the lower jaw) joins the temporal bone of the skull, immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. A small disc of cartilage separates the bones, much like in the knee joint, so that the mandible may slide easily; each time you chew you move it. But you also move it every time you talk and each time you swallow (every three minutes or so). It is, therefore, one of the most frequently used of all joints of the body and one of the most complex…

The unique feature of the TMJs is the articular disc. The disc is composed of fibrocartilagenous tissue (like the firm and flexible elastic cartilage of the ear) which is positioned between the two bones that form the joint. The TMJs are one of the few synovial joints in the human body with an articular disc, another being the sternoclavicular joint…

White fibrocartilage consists of a mixture of white fibrous tissue and cartilaginous tissue in various proportions. It owes its flexibility and toughness to the former of these constituents, and its elasticity to the latter. It is the only type of cartilage that contains type I collagen in addition to the normal type II. Fibrocartilage is found in the pubic symphysis, the anulus fibrosus of intervertebral discs, menisci, and the TMJ. During labor, relaxin loosens the pubic symphysis to aid in delivery, but this can lead to later joint problems…

Temporomandibular joint disc replacement made by tissue-engineered growth of cartilage. (1994)

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