How do chondrocytes obtain nutrition as the cartilage does not have a blood supply?
Adult cartilage is avascular, and chondrocytes obtain nutrients through diffusion. The nutrients are derived from the synovial fluid. Diffusion is facilitated during joint loading. With joint loading, some of the water in the cartilage is squeezed out into the synovial space. When the joint is unloaded, the hydrophilic properties of the cartilage proteoglycans cause the water to be sucked back into the cartilage. As the water returns to the cartilage, diffusion of nutrients from the synovial fluid is facilitated enabling chondrocytes to obtain nutrition.