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December 16, 1974

The Structure and Biochemistry of Cartilage

Author Affiliations

Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine Chicago

JAMA. 1974;230(11):1586. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240110072031

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In this excellent and recommended text, the authors present an account of cartilage at its scientific growing points. They quote fairly from older and recent literature and present their material in readable form and reasonable compass. The sections on chemistry are most effective, but I was surprised to read that collagen and elastin "exhibit notable similarities in chemical composition"—I have always taught that they had none. The venerable expression "cartilage matrix" is apparently approved, but its nonfibrillar portion, the "ground substance," is mentioned only once or twice and then without definition. Perhaps the authors consider the ground substance a chemical mess unworthy to be mentioned in the same breath as the carefully isolated and purified glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans. However, when the last glycan has been analyzed, the clinician will still have to cope with the ground substance.

Morphology is adequately treated as long as the near-disaster area of cartilage ultrastructure