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Fat cells; contain a single enormous lipid droplet; the nucleus, other organelles and cytoplasm are squeezed to one side.

Adipose Tissue

a kind of LOOSE CT PROPER containing stored fat that serves as a source of energy and insulation. The abundance of adipocytes is really the only thing that separates it from Areolar Tissue. fi: flanks, buttocks, breasts, padding around eyes and kidneys

Areolar tissue

Least specialized. May contain all the cells and fibers of CT PROPER in a very LOOSELY organized array. Because of its structure it can absorb shock, distort without damage, move independently. Allowing the skin on the arm to be pinched without affecting the underlying muscle (and visa versa)

Collagen Fibers

long, straight, and unbranched; most common fibers in connective tissue proper; flexible; tendons and ligaments

Connective Tissue Characteristics

1. Specialized cells
2. Extracellular protein fibers
3. fluid known as ground substance

Connective Tissue Classification

Connective PROPER, SUPPORTING Connective, and FLUID

Connective Tissue

Fills internal spaces, provides structural support for other tissues, transports materials within the body and stores energy reserves. Highly vascular in some tissue, poorly vascular (dense connective) and sometimes Avascular (Cartilage) and contains sensory receptors that detect pain, pressure, temperature and other stimuli.

Connective Tissue Fibers

Collagen, reticular, and elastic

Connective Tissue functions

ESTABLISH a structural framework for the body. TRANSPORTING fluids and dissolved materials. PROTECTING delicate organs. SUPPORTING surrounding and interconnecting other types of tissues. DEFENDING the body from invading microorganisms.

Connective tissue proper

Includes those connective tissues with many types of cells and extracellular fibers in a syrupy ground substance. Can be loose or dense and occurs in this sheets

Dense Connective Tissues

Mostly fibers. Often call collagenous tissue. 2 types, regular and irregular

Dense Regular Connective Tissue

Collagen fibers are parallel to each other, packed tightly and aligned with the fource applied to the tissue. ie: tendons (attache skeletal muscles to bones)

Dense Irregular Connective Tissue

Form an interwoven meshwork in no consistent pattern. Strengthen and support area subjected to stresses from many directions

Elastic Fibers

Long threads made of the protein elastin. Because of their wavy structure ability to recoil they provide a rubbery quality to the extracellular matrix that complements the nonelastic strength of collagen fibers. Rare but serve an important purpose such as interconnecting vertebrae


second most abundant cell type; found in all connective tissue proper; maintain the fibers of connective tissue proper


Most abundant and always present. Secretes hyaluron that reacts with proteins to make the matrix viscous. connective tissue cells that produce fibrous components of extracellular matrix like collagen and elastin

Fluid connective tissue

have distinctive populations of cells suspended in a watery matrix that contains dissolved proteins (Blood and Lymph)

Ground Substance

the element of the connective tissues extracellular matrix that serves as the component of connective tissue between cells and fibers. It can be fluid, semi-fluid, gelatinous, or calcified.




a regulating body substance released in excess during allergic reactions causing swelling and inflammation of tissues

loose connective tissue

"packing materials" of the body. They fill spaces between organs, cushion and stabilize specialized cells in many organs, and support epitheliaha. loosely arranged fibers in the matrix. Forms thin sheets.
3 types: areolar , adipose, and reticular


Connects bone to bone or stabilize internal organs


clear, colorless fluid, similar to blood plasma but low in protein. It originates as fluid that has been taken up by the lymphatic vessels. Contains a large number of lymphocytes


A type of white blood cell that make antibodies to fight off infections


"large eater" --large phagocytic cells that wander actively in the interstitial fluid, eating any bacteria and virus-infected cells they encounter.

Mast Cells

Cells that secrete histamine which helps in the inflammatory process (they are usually located near blood vessels)

Matrix (ref: connective tissue)

Extracellular fibers and ground substance together

Mesenchymal Cells

Stem cells that are present in many connective tissue. They respond to local injury or infection.


Phagocytic blood cells that normally move through connective tissue in small numbers. Chemicals released by macrophages/mast cells attract microphages to the site of injury/infection


colorless watery Matrix of blood and lymph containing no cells and in which erythrocytes and leukocytes and platelets are suspended

Reticular Fiber

Contains the same protein subunits as do collagen fibers, but they are thinner and the framework is interwoven (stroma), making it tough yet flexible. This allows it to resist force applied from many directions. fi: Liver, Kidney, Spleen, Lymph nodes, and bone marrow. The stroma helps maintain the position of functional cells, blood vessels, nerves, etc.

Supporting connective tissues

less diverse cell population and a matrix containing much more densely packed fibers. (cartilage and bone)

Chondroiton Sulfate

The predominant proteoglycan in cartilage, responsible for the gelatinous consistency of the matrix. They form complexes with proteins in the ground substance, producing proteoglycans


are the only cells in the cartilage matrix. They occupy small chambers called Lacunae. Produces a chemical that discourages the formation of blood vessels

Antiangiogenesis Factor

The chemical produces by the cartilage that discourages the formation of blood vessels


Dense irregular connective tissues that acts like a girdle to resist outward expansion when the cartilage is compressed. Contains blood vessels from which nutrients diffuse through matrix to reach the cartilage cells

Cartilage Types

Hyaline, Elastic, Fibrocartilage

Hyaline Cartilage

Most common, bluish white and smooth; found on articulating surfaces of bones, costal cartilage of ribs, larynx, trachea, and bronchial passageways

Elastic Cartilage

Contains numerous elastic fibers that make it extremely resilient and flexible. fi: outer ear, epiglottis and the uditory canal.


Has little ground sustance and its matrix is dominated by densely interwoven collagen fibers making it extremely durable and tough. fi: intervertibral disc, within or around joints. They resist compression, absorb shock and prevent damaging bone to bone contact


specialized connective tissue composed of osteocytes. Combination of Collagen fibers and Calcium salts. Osteocytes also encased in Lacuna. Vascularity is extensive. Unlike cartilage bone are able to repair and change with exercise or inactivity.


small pit or hollow cavity, as in bone or cartilage, where a cell or cells are located

Mucous Membrane

mucus-secreting membrane lining all body cavities or passages that communicate with the exterior

Serous Membrane

thin layer of tissue that covers internal body cavities, the cells of which secrete a fluid that keeps the membrane moist

Cutaneous Membrane


Synovial Membrane

Line the cavities of freely moveable joints (i.e. shoulder, elbow, knee etc).
Secretes a fluid called synovial fluid which lubricates and nourishes the cartilage covering the bones.

CT Proper (tree)


Red Blood Cells (Erythrocytes)

Hemocytoblast-Hemocyte. Red blood cells are fragments. No nucleus. Cells that are primarily responsible for transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide through the body.

Fluid formation

Three types of body fluid are PLASMA, INTERSTITIAL, and LYMPH. Plasma is confined to the cardiovascular system. As the blood circulate, blood pressure forces water and small solutes out of the bloodstream across the walls of capillaries. This is the origin of Interstitial fluid. As IF enters the Lymphatic vessels Lymph is formed.

White Blood Cells (Leukocytes)

Defend the body from infections. Have a nucleus. Composed of Mom, incl: Monocyte, Lymphocytes, Eosinophil, Neutrophil, Basilphil.


strand like, large, negatively charged polysaccharides that stick out from the core protein of proteoglycans (bottle brush); makes ground substance more viscous by grabbing and holding water. Viscosity anywhere from gelatinous to solid.

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