The main difference between chondrocytes and osteocytes is that chondrocytes are present in the cartilage, whereas osteocytes are present in the bones.
Connective tissues are the tissues in the body that connect to and support other tissues in the body. There are three types of connective tissues; they are loose connective tissue, dense connective tissue, and special connective tissue. Connective tissues are made of cells, gel-like substances, and fibres. Moreover, the functions of connective tissue include repairing damaged tissue, moving nutrients and substances between tissues and organs, providing cohesion, providing internal support, and storing fat. In fact, connective tissues are present in almost every part of the body. Cartilage, bones, adipose, and lymph are examples of connective tissues. Furthermore, chondrocytes and osteocytes are two types of cells present in connective tissues. These cells perform specific functions in the connective tissue.
Key Areas Covered
What are Chondrocytes
Chondrocytes are the cells found in the cartilage. They make the structural components of the cartilage. Chondrocytes release substances that make the cartilage both strong and flexible. Chondrocytes are embedded in the matrix of the cartilage and are mainly found within articular cartilages and intervertebral discs. They have a round shape. Moreover, the functions of chondrocytes include helping in maintaining homeostasis within articular cartilage joints, which provides cushioning to joint movements, helping in chondral repair, and responding to outside trauma in case of tissue damage. They also produce collagen and extracellular matrix to maintain the cartilage tissue in joints.
Chondrocytes are reconstructive in nature and have a healing capability. The percentage of chondrocytes in cartilage is around 1%. Chondrocytes also secrete enzymes and growth factors that are required to regulate the matrix outside the cells (extracellular matrix). Additionally, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells give rise to chondrocytes.
What are Osteocytes?
Osteocytes are the cells that are found in the bone tissue. 90%-95% of bone cells are osteocytes in mature adult bone tissue. Osteocytes form from osteoblasts. Osteocytes produce proteins such as dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP1). In fact, they are the principal sensors for the mechanical loading of the bone. They also produce soluble factors for both bone formation and resorption.
Mature osteocytes take the shape of a star (stellate) with several cytoplasmic processes directing outwards in all directions. Additionally, mature osteocytes are connected to each other by GAP junctions. Furthermore, the functions of osteocytes include regulation of local and systemic mineral homeostasis, responding to mechanical strain, modification of bone microenvironment, and sending signals of bone formation and bone resorption to the bone surface. Osteocytes also help in bone remodeling, responding to even the slightest changes in the form of bone deformations. Osteocytes have a longer life span and live as long as bone. They also aid in bone remodeling when there is the slightest change in the bone in the form of bone deformation. Calcium is removed from bones with the help of osteocytes when the calcium level of the body drops.
Difference Between Chondrocytes and Osteocytes
Chondrocytes are cells present in cartilage tissue, whereas osteocytes are cells present in bone tissue.
Chondrocytes have a round shape, but osteocytes have a star shape.
While chondrocytes are present in the cartilage tissue, osteocytes are present in the bone tissue.
Chondrocytes produce the cartilage matrix, whereas osteocytes do not secrete the matrix but produce certain proteins and soluble factors.
Connective tissue is a tissue that binds organs and tissues together. Connective tissues are of different types. Furthermore, bones and cartilages are examples of connective tissues. Chondrocytes and osteocytes are two types of cells present in connective tissues. However, the main difference between chondrocytes and osteocytes is that chondrocytes are present in cartilage tissue, and osteocytes are present in bone tissue.
1. “Cartilage Structure” By Kassidy Veasaw – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Transverse section of bone en” By Nyq – Original analog graphics: Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body from the classic 1918 publication available online at Bartleby.com.Digital bitmap graphics: Transverse Section Of Bone.png in vector format: Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia