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Connective Tissue

Most abundant tissue in the human body.

Connective tissue is made of three things

1. cells
2. Ground Substance
3. Fibers


Ground Substance and Fibers

Consistency of Matrix

may be fluid, semi-fluid, gelatinous, fibrous, or calcified.


embryonic connective tissue, the tissue from which all other CT's eventually arise.


Immature Cell


Mature Cell


immature cartilage cell


mature cartilage cell

Produce the matrix

Immature cells

Maintain the matrix

Mature cells

Cells found in various CT's

Fibroblasts, macrophages, plasma cells, mast cell, adipocytes, leukocytes


secrete fibers and matrix


Phagocytic monocytes

Plasma Cells

antibody-producing B-lymphocytes


fat cells


White blood cells

Function of Ground Substance

supports, binds, and acts as an interface between blood and cells. Provides a medium for exchange of wastes/nutrients by diffusion.


How many fibers are embedded in the matrix between CT cells.

Collagen Fibers

a)composed of the protein collagen
b)tough, resists stretching
c)found in bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments

Elastic Fibers

a)composed of the protein elastin
b)strong and stretches
c)found in skin, blood vessels, and lungs

Reticular Fibers

a)consist of collagen and glycoprotein
b)provide support in the walls of blood vessels
c)form a strong supporting network around flat cells, nerve fibers, and muscle cells
d)help form the framework and basement membranes of many organs

Function of fibers

to provide strength and support for tissue

Types of Connective Tissue

loose CT, dense CT, cartilage, bone, blood

Loose Connective Tissue

fibers are loosely woven and there are MANY cells: areolar CT, adipose tissue, reticular CT

Areloar CT

app=consists of all 3 types of fibers, several types of cells, and semifluid ground substance
loc=found in subcutaneous layer and mucous membrances, and around blood vessels, nerves and organs
fx=strength, support and elasticity

Adipose Tissue

app=consists of adipocytes, singnet ring appearing flat cells
loc=found in subcutaneous layer, around organs and in the yellow marrow of long bones
fx=supports, protects and insulates, and serves as an energy reserve

Reticular Connective Tissue

app=consists of fine interlacing reticular fibers, and reticular cells
loc=found in liver, spleen, and lymph nodes
fx=forms the framework (stroma) of organs and binds together smooth muscle tissue cells

Dense CT

Dense regular CT, Dense irregular CT, Elastic CT

Dense regular CT

app=consists of bundles of collagen fibers and fibroblasts
loc=forms tendons, ligaments, and aponeuroses
fx=provide strong attachment between various structures

Dense irregular CT

app=conists of randomly arranged collagen fibers and a few fibroblasts
loc=dermis of skin, heart valves
fx=provide strength

Elastic CT

app=elastic fibers and fibroblasts
loc=lungs, walls of arteries, trachea, bronchial tubes, true vocal cords and some ligaments
fx=allows stretching of various structures


all cartilage has chondrocytes, no blood vessels, strength is due to collagen fibers


Occur within spaces in the matrix call lacunae


Round white spaces in matrix where chondrocytes occur

3 Major types of cartilage

Hyaline Cartilage, Fibrocartilage, Elastic cartilage

Hyaline Cartilage

most abundant type
app=fine collagen fibers embedded in a gel-type matrix
loc=embryonic skeleton, and the ends of long bones
fx=flexible, provides support, allows movement at joints


app=contains bundles of collagen in the matrix, looks like dirty white ice cube
loc=pubic symphasis, intervertebral discs, and menisci of the knee
fx=support and fusion, and absorbs shocks

Elastic cartilage

app=threadlike network of elastic fibers within the matrix
loc=external ear, auditory tubes, EPIGLOTTIS
fx=gives support, maintains shape, allows flexibility

Epithelial Membrane

spithelial layer of cells plus the underlying connective tissue

Types of Membranes

Mucous, Serous, Cutaneous

Mucous membrane

it lines cavities that open to the exterior, such as the GI tract, vagina, oral, anal

Epithelial layer of the mucous membrane

acts as a barrier to disease organisms

Lamina propria

The connective tissue layer of the mucous membrane, under simple columnar epithelial tissue of small intestine

Serous membrane

closed cavities:








Kidneys are...behind the peritoneum

Serous membrane

lines a body cavity that does NOT open to the exterior and it covers the organs that lie within the cavity. Has two portions

Parietal portion

outside of organ and lining the cavity

Visceral portion

covers the organ

Function of Serious Fluid

reduces friction between organs and the walls of the cavities in which they are located

Pleural fluid

found between the parietal and visceral pericardium of the lungs.

Pericardial fluid

found between the parietal and visceral pericardium of the heart.

Peritoneal Fluid

is found between the parietal and visceral peritoneum of the abdomen

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