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Structurally, connective tissue is formed by 3

classes of components: cells, fibers, and ground
substance. Fibers and ground substance make up of
extracellular matrix.
According to the composition and organization of
cellular and extracellular components and to the
special functions, connective tissues are classified as
connective tissue proper, cartilage, bone, and blood.
The connective tissue proper can be divided into loose
connective tissue and dense connective tissue
according to whether the fibers are loosely woven or
densely packed. In addition, a number of kinds of
connective tissue proper with special properties are
named so as to indicate the predominating components
or identifying feature: adipose tissue, reticular tissue
and mucous tissue, etc.
Loose connective tissue or areolar tissue
Seven types of cells: fibroblasts, mast cells
macrophages, plasma cells, fat cells, undifferentiated
mesenchymal cells and white blood cells .
Three types of fibers: collagen fibers, elastic fibers
and reticular fibers.
Ground substance

The extracellular ground substance is a highly
hydrated, complex mixture of glycosaminoglycans,
proteoglycans, and multiadhesive glycoproteins. The
complex molecular mixture of the ground substance is
colorless and transparent. It fills the space between
cells and fibers of the connective tissue and, because
it is viscous, acts as both a lubricant and a barrier to
the penetration of invaders.
Specimen NO. 37
Loose
connective
tissue Stratified
squamous
epitheliu
m

Blood vessel

Fig.1. Section of esophagus showing loose connective tissue
HE stain Low magnification.
Specimen NO. 37

fibres

Nucleus
Blood
of
vessel
fibroblast

Fig. 2. Section of esophagus showing loose connective tissue.
HE stain. High magnification.
Fibrocyte
(quiescent
fibroblast)

fibroblast

Fig 3. Fibroblast and Fibrocyte (TEM)
Specimen NO. 4.

Fig. 4. Spread preparation of loose connective tissue showing
macrophages. When trypan blue (a vital dye) is injected into an
animal, macrophages engulf and accumulate the dye in their
cytoplasm in the form of granules visible in the light microscope.
High magnification.
erythrocyte

erythrocyt
e

Macrophag
e

Fig. 5. Macrophage (SEM)
Specimen NO.5

Fig. 6. Spread preparation of loose connective tissue showing
mast cells. The cytoplasm of must cell is filled with basophilic
secretory granules. Toluidine blue stain. High magnification.
Nucleus

secretory
granules

Fig. 7. Mast cell (TEM)
Fig. 8. Section of plasma cells. The cytoplasm is basophilic.
There is a pale area around the nucleus( ) . Pararosaniline-
toluidine blue stain(PT stain). High magnification.
Nucleus

Rough
endoplasmic
reticulum(RER)
Fig. 9. Plasma cell (TEM)
Specimen NO. 2

Elastic
fiber

Collagen
fiber

Fig . 3. Spread preparation of loose connective tissue, showing two
types of fibers. Resorcin-fuchsin stain. High magnification
Specimen NO.3.

Reticular
fiber
Reticula
r fiber

Reticular
fiber

Fig. 8. Section of lymph node showing reticular fibers which are argyrophil.
Silver stain . 3.3×40
Dense connective tissue
Dense connective tissue is adapted to offer resistance and
protection. It consists of the same components found in loose
connective tissue, but there are fewer cells and a clear
predominance of fibers .

Dense connective tissue can be divided into dense
irregular connective tissue and dense regular connective
tissue.
Specimen NO 32.
Fibres

Fibres

Fibroblas
t

Fig .9. Section of human dermis, showing irregular dense connective
tissue. HE stain. 3.3×40
Tendon cell

Collagen
fiber

Fig. 10. Section of tendon, showing regular dense connective tissue.
HE stain. High magnification.
Reticular tissue

Reticular tissue is a specialized loose connective tissue
consisting of reticular cells and reticular fibers. Reticular
cells are specialized fibroblasts. Reticular tissue provides
the architectural framework that creates a special
microenvironment for hematopoietic organs and
lymphoid organs.
Specimen NO.28

Reticular
cell

Reticular cell

Fig. 12. Section of lymph node, showing reticular cells. HE stain. 3.3×40
Specimen NO.28

lymphocyte
reticulocyt
e

Fig. 13. Section of lymph node showing reticular cells . HE stain .3.3×40
Specimen
NO.3.

Reticular
fiber

Reticular
fiber

Fig. 8. Section of lymph node showing reticular fibers. Silver stain . 3.3×40
Adipose tissue
Adipose tissue is a special type of connective tissue in
which adipose cells predominate. There are two types of
adipose tissue : Unilocular (or yellow) adipose tissue
and Multilocular (or brown) adipose tissue .
Unilocular adipose tissue is composed of cells that,
when completely developed, contain one large central
lipid droplet in their cytoplasm. Multilocular adipose
tissue is composed of cells that contain numerous
droplets and abundant mitochondria in their cytoplasm.
Both types of adipose tissue have a rich blood supply.
Specimen
NO.32.

Connectiv
e tissue

Fat cell

Fig .11. Section of yellow adipose tissue. HE stain. 3.3×40
Fig. 12. Brown adipose tissue. The arrow shows capillaries.
H&E stain. High magnification.
Question
1. How many components does the connective tissue
include?
2. How many types of fibers does the loose connective
tissue include?
3. How many types of cells does the loose connective
tissue include? Describe their structure and function.
4. What functions does the plasma cell have?
5. Where do the macrophages come from?