HISTOLOGY

REMAN A. ALINGASA, RMT

CELLS OF THE CONNECTIVE TISSUE
Various components of the connective tissue play roles in the defense or protection of the body including many of the components of the vascular and immune systems (plasma cells, lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, mast cells). The various macrophages of the body are also categorized as connective tissue cells. These all develop from monocytes and are grouped as part of the Mononuclear Phagocyte System of the body. Macrophages are important in tissue repair as well as defense against bacterial invasion. The fibroblasts of connective tissue proliferate in response to injury of organs and migrate to and deposit abundant new collagen fibers, resulting in the formation of fibrous scar

CONNECTIVE TISSUE CELLS
Connective tissue cells are usually divided into two groups based on their ability to move within the connective tissue. Fibrocytes (or fibroblasts) and fat cells are fixed cells. Macrophages, monocytes, lymphocytes, plasma cells, eosinophils and mast cells are wandering cells.

FIBROCYTES
Fibrocytes are the most common cell type in connective tissues. They are the "true" connective tissue cells. Usually only their oval, sometimes flattened nuclei are visible in LM sections. The cytoplasm of a resting (i.e. inactive) fibrocyte does not contain many organelles. This situation changes if the fibrocytes are stimulated, for example, by damage to the surrounding tissue. In this case the fibrocyte is transformed into a fibroblast, which contains large amounts of the organelles which are necessary for the synthesis and excretion of proteins needed to repair the tissue damage. Fibrocytes do not usually leave the connective

They are the "fibrocytes" of reticular connective tissue and form a network of reticular fibres. Their nuclei are typically large and lightly stained (H&E) and the cytoplasm may be visible amongst the cells which are housed within the network of reticular fibres. in the lymphoid organs.RETICULAR CELLS Reticular cells are usually larger than an average fibrocyte. for example. .

Adipocytes also have an endocrine function .ADIPOCYTES Fat cells or adipocytes are fixed cells in loose connective tissue. Their main function is (what surprise!) the storage of lipids. Lipid storage/mobilisation is under nervous (sympathetic) and hormonal (insulin) control. The flattened nucleus may be found in a slightly thickened part of this cytoplasmic rim . If "well fed" the cytoplasm only forms a very narrow rim around a large central lipid droplet. A "starving" adipocyte may contain multiple small lipid droplets and gradually comes to resemble a fibrocyte. which may not be the case since the diameter of an adipocyte (up to 100 µm) is considerable larger than the thickness of typical histological sections.they secrete the protein leptin which provides brain centers which regulate appetite with .if it is present in the section.

MACROPHAGES Macrophages arise from precursor cells called monocytes. Resting macrophages are difficult to distinguish . Resting macrophages may be as numerous as fibrocytes. Macrophages change their appearance depending on the demand for phagocytotic activity. where they differentiate into macrophages. They are actively mobile and leave the blood stream to enter connective tissues. Monocytes originate in the bone marrow from where they are released into the blood stream.

for example.like macrophages. on the surface of pollen grains. in response to antigens found. for example. They increase blood flow in close by vessels and the permeability of the vessel walls to plasma constituents and other white . The most prominent substances contained in the vesicles are heparin and histamine. lymphocytes and eosinophils . in allergic reactions. The cytoplasm of mast cells is filled by numerous large vesicles.in demand when something goes wrong in the connective tissue. Mast cells discharge the contents of these vesicles if they come in contact with antigens.MAST CELLS Mast cells are . Quite a few of them are present in healthy connective tissue as they stand on guard and monitor the local situation. proteins on the surface of an invading bacterium or.

LYMPHOCYTES AND PLASMA CELLS Lymphocytes are usually small cells (6 . The cytoplasm forms a narrow rim around the nucleus and may be difficult to see. To accommodate the necessary organelles for this function the size of the cytoplasm increases dramatically and the cells become basophilic. . Some lymphocytes may differentiate into plasma cells.in this case with immunological reactions.8 µm). There are many of them in the connective tissue underlying the epithelia of the gastrointestinal tract but usually much fewer in other connective tissues. this situation may change . Again. Plasma cells are lymphocytes which produce antibodies. Their nuclei are round and stain very dark. Plasma cells can occasionally be spotted in the loose connective tissue present in sections.

transparent material composed mainly of glycoproteins and proteoglycans. chondroitin-6-sulfate. keratan sulfate. . All substances passing to and from cells must pass through the ground substance. The main proteoglycans consist of a core protein associated with sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). heparan sulfate) and the non-sulfated hyaluronic acid. with a fairly high water content.AMORPHOUS GROUND SUBSTANCE The intercellular ground substance is an amorphous. The main GAGs include : chondroitin-4-sulfate.

LOOSE CONNECTIVE TISSUE 2.CONNECTIVE TISSUE 1. DENSE CONNECTIVE TISSUE .

is present in the serosal lining membranes (of the peritoneal. surrounds blood and lymph vessels. . in the papillary layer of the dermis and in the lamina propria of the intestinal and respiratory tracts etc. It fills the spaces between muscle fibers.LOOSE CONNECTIVE TISSUE Loose connective tissue (areolar tissue) is the more common type. pleural and cardiac cavities).

Loose or areolar connective tissue. . Thick pink bands are the protein collagen. while the thin dark threads are the protein elastin.

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.DENSE CONNECTIVE TISSUE Dense connective tissue is divided into two sub-categories: A) Dense irregular connective tissue B) Dense regular connective tissue Dense connective tissue contains relatively few cells with much greater numbers of collagen fibers.

It is dense with collagen fibers that run in many different directions. This design allows the tissue to resist tension pulling from numerous directions. the dermis of the skin and in hollow organs on the digestive tract. . Found in joint capsules.DENSE IRREGULAR CONNECTIVE TISSUE Dense irregular connective tissue has bundles of collagen fibers that appear to be fairly randomly orientated (as in the dermis).

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This design allows the tissue to resist tension pulling in one . Found in tendons and ligaments and it is dense with collagen fibers that run parallel to one another (thus the name).DENSE REGULAR CONNECTIVE TISSUE Dense regular connective tissue has closelypacked densely-arranged fiber bundles with clear orientation (such as in tendons) and relatively few cells.

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Regular Connective Tissue .Tendon.

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.Dense regular connective tissue contains densely packed collagen fibers that run in the same direction. .

SPECIALIZED CONNECTIVE TISSUE CARTILAGE BONE .

but it has elastic fibers in the matrix. The major difference in identifying the different cartilage types is found in the visible components of the matrix.CARTILAGE Cartilage is a form of connective tissue that has an extensive matrix surrounding the cartilage producing cells (chondroblasts or chondrocytes). Fibrocartilage is very dense with thick collagen fibers throughout the matrix. The space in the matrix occupied by . where elastic cartilage looks similar to hyaline cartilage. These cells are trapped inside of small spaces called lacunae (little lakes). Cartilage cells (chondrocytes) secrete the fibers and ground substance that make up the cartilage matrix. Hyaline cartilage lacks any visible fibers in the matrix.

In microscope slides these fibers are not distinguishable from the rest of the matrix. shown at right. has fine. closelypacked collagen fibers. . thus the matrix has a smooth appearance.HYALINE CARTILAGE Hyaline cartilage.

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It is prominent in cartilage which give the external ear and the eustachian tubes their structures. but elastin is the predominant fiber.ELASTIC CARTILAGE Similar to hyaline cartilage. . giving the tissue great elasticity.

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Elastic cartilage contains many elastic fibers which are visible in microscope slides. .FIBROCARTILAGE Fibrocartilage contains large bundles of collagen which are visible in microscope slides.

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which distends the cell so that the cytoplasm is reduced to a thin layer and the nucleus is displaced to the edge of the cell. When they accumulate in large numbers.ADIPOSE TISSUE The cells of adipose (fat) tissue are characterized by a large internal fat droplet. it forms an insulating layer under the skin . they become the predominant cell type and form adipose (fat) tissue. These cells may appear singly but are more often present in groups (Figure 11). Adipose tissue. in addition to serving as a storage site for fats (lipids). As well. also pads and protects certain organs and regions of the body.

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a white space . Two adipocytes are indicated by ad.Adipose tissue is seen here in the layer between the skin and the muscles. Most of the volume of an adipocyte is taken up by a large droplet of stored fat. The typical method of making tissue slides involves chemicals that dissolve fat. Adipose tissue is basically areolar connective tissue that has a high concentration of adipocytes.

essential for locomotion. The hematopoietic bone marrow is protected by the surrounding bony tissue. . the ribs protect the heart and lungs. Bone provides protection for the vital organs of the body: the skull protects the brain.FUNCTIONS OF BONE TISSUE The skeleton is built of bone tissue. Bone provides the internal support of the body and provides sites of attachment of tendons and muscles. The main store of calcium and phosphate is in bone.

cancellous bone) Compact bone (cortical bone) Spongy bone Spongy bone is composed of a lattice or network of branching bone spicules or trabeculae.MACROSCOPIC STRUCTURE OF BONE There are two main categories of bone : Spongy bone (trabecular bone. The spaces between the bone spicules contain bone marrow. Compact bone Compact bone appears as a mass of bony tissue lacking spaces visible .

g. femur) flat bones (membrane bones) irregular bones (such as the vertebrae) All these bone types. . humerus.ANATOMICAL CLASSIFICATION OF BONES Bones are characterized anatomically as: long bones (e. regardless of their anatomical form. are composed of both spongy and compact bone.

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MONONUCLEAR PHAGOCYTE SYSTEM .

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