Connective Tissue

General Features Two basic elements: CELLS and an extracellular MATRIX The MATRIX is made with a ground substance and fibers Not very cellular compared to the other types of tissue Does not occur on body surfaces Has a nerve supply, except cartilage Usually highly vascular except cartilage (avascular) tendons and ligaments Various tissue types confer a variety of functions

Types of Connective Tissue Cells
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Fibroblasts- produce and
secrete fibrous proteins and ground substance

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Leukocytes- white blood
cells, several different types, function in immunity Thrombocytes- blood platelets, aid in blood clot formation Chondroblasts- produce and secrete fibers and ground substance in cartilage Chondrocytes- maintains the matrix of cartilage Osteoblasts- produce and secrete fibers and ground substance in bone Osteocytes- maintains the extracellular matrix of bone

Macrophages- phagocytic
cells that engulf and digest foreign particles

Plasma Cells- produce

Mast Cells- produce
histamine, which dialates blood vessels, and heparin, an anticoagulant

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Adipocytes- store fat Erythrocytes- red blood
cells, transport oxygen

Connective Tissue Extracellular Matrix

Ground substance can be

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Fluid Semifluid Gelatinous Hard
Collagen – strong, thick yet flexible Elastic – smaller in diameter than collagen, branch to form a network within the tissue, very elastic Reticular – also made with collagen, but much thinner than collagen fibers, provide support and strength and form the basement membrane

Three Types of Fibers
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Two Major Types of Connective Tissue  Embryonic – found in the embryo and fetus  Mature – present in newborns to adults .

Types of Mature Connective Tissue  Loose Connective Tissue    areolar reticular adipose regular irregular elastic hyaline elastic fibrocartilage  Dense Connective Tissue     Cartilage       Bone Blood Lymph .

Not very cellular. Cells are scattered throughout the tissue. The ground substance in semifluid (viscous).Loose Connective Tissue In Loose Connective Tissue. the fibers in the extracellular matrix are loosely arranged. Loose Connective Tissue includes:  Areolar Connective Tissue  Adipose Tissue  Reticular Connective Tissue . cells involved in immunity enter the matrix from blood and are transient. Some cells reside permanently in the matrix. Lots of ground substance.

superficial part of dermis. around blood vessels. nerves and body organs Function: supports glandular epithelium and mesothelial layers of mesentery.Areolar Connective Tissue All three fibers (collagen. are embedded in a semifluid ground substance Areolar is the most abundant type of connective tissue Found in the subcutaneous layer deep to skin. adipocytes and cells of the immune system. elastin and reticular) and several kinds of cells. including fibroblasts. supports immune cells . mucus membranes.

Areolar Connective Tissue .

Found in lymph nodes and other nonmuscular organs Provides a support structure for macrophages and other cells involved in immunity. The ground substance is semifluid. . Reticulocytes are fibroblasts that produce more reticular fiber than collagen.Reticular Connective Tissue The dominant fiber is recticular fiber.

Reticular Connective Tissue .

Adipose Tissue Contains fibers. Has a great number of adipocytes and very little matrix. Adipocytes can appear “empty” on slides. fibroblasts and adipocytes embedded in a semifluid ground substance. Surrounds organs. cushioning and insulation for organs . abundant in the greater omentum Function: provides storage for energy-rich lipids.

Adipose Tissue .

Fibroblasts are squeezed between the fiber bundles Three types of Dense CT  Dense Regular CT  Dense Irregular CT  Dense Elastic CT .Dense Connective Tissue The extracellular matrix consists of tightly packed fibers that form bundles. Very little semi-fluid (viscous) ground substance.

Dense Regular Connective Tissue The extracellular matrix consists of tightly packed parallel bundles of collagen fibers with very little ground substance. Fibroblasts are squeezed between the collagen bundles Makes up tendons and ligaments Function: provides resistance to pulling forces while providing flexibility .

Dense Regular Connective Tissue Tendon .

not in parallel to each other).Dense Irregular Connective Tissue The matrix has little ground substance and few fibroblasts.e. Found in the dermis of the skin Function: Provides strength and support of organs . The matrix is packed with bundles of collagen fibers which are irregularly arranged (i.

Dense Irregular Connective Tissue .

few fibroblasts and consists of very little ground substance.Dense Elastic Connective Tissue Extracellular matrix is packed with elastic fibers. which mostly run parallel to each other. Found in the aorta Function: allows tissue to be stretched and then regain its original size and shape .

Elastic Connective Tissue in the Aorta .

Cartilage is avascular and receives nutrients through diffusion from adjacent vascular tissue Does not have a nerve supply .Cartilage The extracellular matrix consists of collagen and elastic fibers embedded into a gelatinous ground substance. Chondroblasts secrete fibers and ground substance and become isolated in spaces called lacunae (little lakes or pools) and then transform into chodrocytes.

Hyaline Cartilage Contains collagen fibers which are thin and not visible with a compound light microscope. Function: provides support. Found at the end of bones (articular). where the matrix appears smooth and homogenous. attaching ribs to the sternum (costal). The most abundant type of cartilage in the body. reduces friction from moving bones. provides flexibility that allows movement without fracture . Hyaline cartilage appears glassy to the eye. Chondrocytes are found in lacunae. in the nose (nasal) and in the trachea and bronchi.

Hyaline Cartilage .


Ground substance is gelatinous. Chondrocytes are located in lacunae. Found in the external ear and epiglottis of the larynx Function: provides flexible support .Elastic Cartilage The matrix is packed mostly with elastic fibers.

Elastic Cartilage .


Found in intervertebral discs and the menisci of the knees Function: provides cushioning and reduces friction .Fibrocartilage Extracellular matrix is packed with thick collagen fibers. Has fewer lacunae and chrondrocytes than the other types of cartilage.

Fibrocartilage .

or canaliculi serve as passages ways for nutrients and wastes as they connect the lacunae to larger canals that contain blood vessels. . Osteocytes are located in lacunae. much like the spaces in cartilage. little canals. Because the ground tissue is hard in bone and diffusion and osmosis is nearly impossible.Compact Bone The extracellular matrix consists of collagen fibers and a hard ground substance in which inorganic salts. are deposited. mostly calcium and phosphorus salts.

provides levers to make movement possible. . which contains blood vessels and nerves Found in the skeleton of all vertebrates. sometimes referred to as a Haversian Canal. In the center of each osteon is a large central canal. support for the body.The matrix is organized and develops in layers called lamellae. A single bone may have several hundreds and even thousands of osteons. The lamellae form concentric rings that make up a structure called an osteon. Function: protects and provides support for body organs.

Ground Compact Bone .


etc. and thrombocytes.Blood The ground substance is a straw-colored fluid called plasma. Found in blood vessels throughout the body. or white blood cells. wastes and molecular signals (hormones.) throughout the body. . or red blood cells. leucocytes. or platelets. Function: transports nutrients and vital molecules. Fibers are only present during clotting. Suspended in the plasma are erythrocytes.

Human Blood .

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