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Connective tissue – Structure, Location, Function and Classification

What is Connective tissue?

  • Connective tissue is a fundamental component of animal bodies, serving various essential functions. It is categorized as one of the primary types of animal tissue, alongside epithelial tissue, muscle tissue, and nervous tissue. During embryonic development, connective tissue arises from the mesenchyme, which is derived from the mesoderm, the middle layer of the embryo.
  • Connective tissue is ubiquitously present throughout the body, filling the spaces between other tissues and organs. It even exists within the nervous system itself. A notable example is the three meninges, which are protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. These meninges are composed primarily of connective tissue.
  • The composition of connective tissue typically comprises three main components: elastic and collagen fibers, ground substance, and cells. Elastic and collagen fibers provide strength, flexibility, and structural support to the tissue. Ground substance, a gel-like substance, fills the spaces between fibers and acts as a medium for the exchange of nutrients and waste products. Various cells are also found within connective tissue, including fibroblasts, adipocytes (fat cells), macrophages, mast cells, and leukocytes (white blood cells).
  • It is worth noting that some specialized fluid connective tissues, such as blood and lymph, do not contain fibers. These fluid connective tissues play vital roles in transporting oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and immune cells throughout the body. They are immersed in the body’s water, facilitating their functions.
  • The term “connective tissue” was first coined by Johannes Peter Müller in 1830, with the German term “Bindegewebe.” However, even before its official classification, connective tissue had been recognized as a distinct class of tissue in the 18th century.
  • In summary, connective tissue is an essential type of animal tissue that develops from the mesenchyme during embryonic development. It fills the spaces between other tissues and organs, providing structural support and flexibility. It consists of fibers, ground substance, and various cells. Connective tissue encompasses a wide range of specialized tissues, including fluid connective tissues like blood and lymph. Understanding connective tissue is crucial for comprehending the intricate functioning of the human body.

Definition of Connective tissue

Connective tissue is a type of animal tissue that supports, connects, and protects various structures in the body. It consists of fibers, ground substance, and cells, and is found between other tissues and organs. It provides structural support, flexibility, and plays a role in the transportation of nutrients and waste products.

Characteristics of connective tissue

Connective tissue is a diverse and abundant type of tissue found throughout the body. It serves a variety of functions and is characterized by several key features. Here are some of the characteristics of connective tissue:

  1. Extracellular Matrix: Connective tissue is defined by its abundant extracellular matrix (ECM), which is a non-cellular material secreted by the cells of the tissue. The ECM is composed of ground substance, a gel-like substance, and protein fibers. It provides structural support, binds cells together, and allows for communication between cells.
  2. Cells: Connective tissue contains a variety of cells, including fibroblasts, adipocytes (fat cells), macrophages, mast cells, and white blood cells. The specific types and proportions of cells vary depending on the type of connective tissue.
  3. Protein Fibers: Connective tissue contains different types of protein fibers that provide strength, flexibility, and support. The three main types of fibers found in connective tissue are collagen, elastic fibers, and reticular fibers. Collagen fibers are the most abundant and provide tensile strength, elastic fibers allow tissues to stretch and recoil, while reticular fibers form a delicate network to support and stabilize organs.
  4. Vascularization: The vascularization of connective tissue can vary depending on the type. Some connective tissues, like cartilage, have a poor blood supply, while others, like bone, are highly vascularized. Blood vessels supply nutrients, oxygen, and immune cells to the connective tissue.
  5. Ground Substance: The ground substance is a gel-like substance that fills the space between cells and fibers in the extracellular matrix. It is composed of water, ions, proteoglycans, and glycoproteins. The ground substance provides hydration, cushioning, and allows for the diffusion of nutrients and waste products.
  6. Diversity: Connective tissue is highly diverse and can be found in various forms throughout the body. Some examples of connective tissue include loose connective tissue, dense connective tissue, adipose tissue, cartilage, bone, blood, and lymphoid tissue. Each type has specialized functions and unique structural characteristics.
  7. Repair and Healing: Connective tissue has a remarkable capacity for repair and healing. When connective tissue is injured, fibroblasts migrate to the site of injury and produce new ECM components, such as collagen fibers, to rebuild and restore the tissue’s structure and function.

In summary, connective tissue is characterized by its extracellular matrix, diverse cell types, protein fibers, vascularization, ground substance, and its ability to repair and heal. These characteristics enable connective tissue to fulfill various functions, including support, protection, insulation, and maintenance of tissue integrity throughout the body.

Location of Connective tissue

Connective tissue is found throughout the body, occupying spaces between other tissues and organs. It is present in various locations, including:

  1. Skin: Connective tissue, specifically the dermis, forms the structural support for the skin, providing strength and elasticity.
  2. Joints: Connective tissue, such as cartilage and ligaments, is found in joints, allowing for smooth movement and providing stability.
  3. Bones: Connective tissue in the form of bone provides support, protection, and facilitates movement. It makes up the skeletal system.
  4. Organs: Connective tissue surrounds and supports organs, helping maintain their shape and structure. For example, the liver, kidneys, and lungs have connective tissue layers.
  5. Blood vessels: Connective tissue is present in the walls of blood vessels, providing strength and elasticity to maintain their structure and function.
  6. Nervous system: Connective tissue forms the protective coverings around the brain and spinal cord, known as meninges. It also supports and nourishes nerves.
  7. Muscles: Connective tissue, such as tendons and fascia, attaches muscles to bones and provides structural support during muscle contraction.
  8. Digestive system: Connective tissue is present in the walls of the digestive organs, including the stomach and intestines, helping maintain their shape and structure.

Overall, connective tissue is distributed extensively throughout the body, playing a crucial role in supporting, connecting, and protecting various structures and organs.

Structure of Connective tissue

The structure of connective tissue is characterized by its extracellular fibers, ground substance, and the presence of cells within the extracellular matrix.

There are three primary types of extracellular fibers found in connective tissue:

  1. Collagenous fibers: These fibers are the most abundant in connective tissue. Collagen fibers are composed of smaller fibrils, which, in turn, are made up of microfibrils. The proteins constructing these microfibrils can vary. Collagen fibers have limited elasticity but are exceptionally strong, providing structural support and tensile strength to the tissue.
  2. Elastic fibers: When grouped together, elastic fibers appear yellowish in color. They are also composed of microfibrils embedded within a matrix. The protein elastin within this matrix allows for stretch and recoil. Elastic fibers can stretch to approximately one and a half times their original length and provide tissues with the ability to regain their shape after stretching.
  3. Reticular fibers: Reticular fibers are thin threads, similar to collagenous fibers, but contain a different type of collagen protein. They are not as strong or elastic as collagen or elastic fibers. Reticular fibers support individual cells within tissues.

These extracellular fibers are embedded within a gel-like substance known as ground substance. Ground substance consists of a mixture of water, proteins, and polysaccharides. It fills the spaces between fibers and provides a medium for the exchange of nutrients and waste products between cells and blood vessels.

The combination of ground substance and extracellular fibers forms the extracellular matrix, which provides structural support, strength, and flexibility to the connective tissue. This matrix also serves as a scaffold for cells within the tissue.

In addition to the extracellular components, connective tissue contains various cells. These cells include fibroblasts, which produce the extracellular matrix components, adipocytes (fat cells), macrophages, mast cells, and leukocytes (white blood cells). These cells play crucial roles in maintaining tissue homeostasis, immune response, and the synthesis and remodeling of the extracellular matrix.

In summary, the structure of connective tissue consists of extracellular fibers, including collagenous, elastic, and reticular fibers, embedded within a gel-like ground substance. The combination of these components forms the extracellular matrix, which provides support and flexibility. Cells within the connective tissue contribute to tissue function and maintenance.

Ground Substance

  • Ground substance is an essential component of connective tissue that plays a significant role in maintaining tissue hydration, providing a temporary storage and transportation medium for water, salts, and other small molecules.
  • The primary constituent of ground substance, aside from water, is proteoglycans. These substances contribute to the gel-like consistency of the ground substance. Proteoglycans are composed of polysaccharide chains with sporadically linked proteins. The polysaccharides within proteoglycans are derived from another component of ground substance called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). One well-known GAG found in ground substance is hyaluronic acid.
  • Hyaluronic acid, often used in cosmetic treatments, serves as a structural base for connective tissue. It has the ability to bind to water molecules, providing hydration to the surrounding tissue. However, due to its large molecular size, topical applications of hyaluronic acid alone cannot penetrate the epidermis without additional treatments like micro-needling or deep chemical peels. Other important glycosaminoglycans include chondroitin, dermatan, keratan, and heparan sulfate, which all contribute to the overall structure of ground substance.
  • Glycosaminoglycans have the property of binding water and positively charged ions. This bound water enables the dissolution of gases, ions, and smaller molecules, allowing them to pass through the extracellular matrix. However, larger molecules are unable to move through the matrix, providing a protective barrier against certain types of bacteria.
  • In summary, ground substance is a crucial component of connective tissue that maintains tissue hydration and acts as a temporary store and transportation medium for water, salts, and other small molecules. Proteoglycans, primarily composed of glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronic acid, contribute to the gel-like consistency of ground substance. This substance provides hydration, a protective barrier, and facilitates the movement of certain molecules within the extracellular matrix.

Connective Tissue Cells

  • Connective tissue cells play a crucial role in maintaining the structure, support, and integrity of the body’s tissues. They can be classified into two main types: fixed cells and wandering cells. The fixed cells include fibrocytes, reticulocytes, and adipocytes, while the wandering cells consist of various immune cells.
  • Fixed cells, such as fibrocytes, are relatively dormant in their state and do not contain many organelles. However, when local tissue damage occurs, they become activated and transform into fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are highly specialized cells that possess numerous organelles. Their primary function is to produce reparative proteins and transport them to the sites where they are needed for tissue repair. In some cases, fibroblasts can also contract and transform into myofibroblasts. In specialized types of connective tissue, such as bone (osteocytes) and cartilage (chondrocytes), different types of fixed cells are abundant and perform specific functions related to their respective tissues.
  • Reticular cells, another type of fixed cell, are responsible for producing reticular fibers. However, they also serve a similar role to fibrocytes in areas of tissue where reticular fibers are present.
  • Adipocytes, or fat cells, are also considered fixed cells as they are embedded within the extracellular matrix. Their primary function is lipid storage, which provides energy reserves for the body.
  • On the other hand, wandering cells within connective tissue are primarily immune cells that actively move through the extracellular matrix in search of foreign particles and dead cells. Macrophages are phagocytic cells that engulf and consume foreign particles through a process called phagocytosis. Mast cells are involved in the inflammatory response by releasing substances like heparin and histamine, which promote vasodilation, increased blood flow, and recruitment of immune cells to the affected area. Lymphocytes, although present in smaller numbers, are crucial for the immune response. When stimulated by recognized pathogens, B cells can differentiate into plasma cells that release antibodies, contributing to the body’s defense mechanisms. Eosinophils are phagocytic cells that arrive at the site of inflammation to digest antigens marked by B-cell antibodies.
  • Another wandering cell type is the mesenchymal cell, which serves as a precursor for other cells involved in the production of the extracellular matrix. However, the population of mesenchymal cells becomes limited once a person reaches adulthood. These cells play a vital role in repairing nearby structures like blood vessels.
  • In summary, connective tissue cells encompass a diverse array of fixed and wandering cells, each with specific functions in maintaining tissue integrity, repairing damaged areas, and participating in immune responses. Their collective efforts contribute to the overall health and functionality of the body.

Types of Connective Tissue

The classification of connective tissue is as follows:

  1. Loose Connective Tissue
  2. Dense Connective Tissue
  3. Specialised Connective Tissue

1. Loose Connective Tissue

  • Loose connective tissue, also known as areolar connective tissue, is a versatile and widespread type of tissue found throughout the body. It plays a crucial role in providing support and elasticity wherever they are required. This tissue is present in various locations, enveloping blood vessels, nerves, and muscles. It forms the subcutaneous layer beneath the skin, along with adipose tissue, connecting muscles and other structures to the skin.
  • The structure of loose connective tissue consists of loosely arranged fibers and cells within a semi-fluid matrix. This arrangement allows for flexibility and mobility in the tissue. It is found between many organs, serving as a filling material and acting as a shock absorber. Additionally, it acts as a reservoir for salt and fluid.
  • One type of loose connective tissue is areolar tissue. It is found beneath the skin and provides support to the epithelium, the outermost layer of cells. Areolar tissue contains randomly distributed fibers, fibroblasts (cells that produce fibers), mast cells, and macrophages (cells involved in immune responses). This type of tissue supports the organs present in the abdominal cavity, fills the spaces between muscle fibers, and wraps around blood and lymph vessels.
  • Another type of loose connective tissue is adipose tissue. It is predominantly located beneath the skin and serves as a storage site for fat. Adipose tissue acts as a shock absorber, providing cushioning and protection to underlying structures. It also plays a role in maintaining body temperature, particularly in colder environments. Adipose tissue can be further classified into white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue.
  • White adipose tissue is commonly found throughout the body and serves as a storage site for excess energy in the form of lipids. It also provides insulation and padding. In specific locations, such as the back of the eye or protecting the kidneys, white adipose tissue serves a protective function.
  • On the other hand, brown adipose tissue is primarily found in infants, as well as in animals adapted to cold environments, such as polar bears and penguins. Brown adipose tissue contains a higher concentration of mitochondria and is specialized in generating heat. Through a process called thermogenesis, brown adipose tissue releases metabolic heat to help regulate body temperature.
  • Additionally, there is reticular connective tissue, which is composed of reticular fibers. This type of loose connective tissue supports the internal framework of organs such as the liver, lymph nodes, and spleen. Reticular fibers provide a supportive network for the parenchymal cells of these organs.
  • In conclusion, loose connective tissue, or areolar connective tissue, is a versatile type of tissue found throughout the body. It plays a crucial role in providing support, elasticity, and flexibility to various organs and structures. Whether it is supporting blood vessels or serving as a storage site for fat, loose connective tissue contributes to the overall function and structure of the body.
Loose connective tissue is composed of loosely woven collagen and elastic fibers. The fibers and other components of the connective tissue matrix are secreted by fibroblasts.
Loose connective tissue is composed of loosely woven collagen and elastic fibers. The fibers and other components of the connective tissue matrix are secreted by fibroblasts. | Image Source: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-biology2/chapter/connective-tissues/

Structure of Loose Connective Tissue

The structure of loose connective tissue, also known as areolar connective tissue, is characterized by its loosely arranged fibers and cells within a semi-fluid matrix. This tissue type provides support, flexibility, and acts as a cushioning material. Here is an overview of the structure of loose connective tissue:

  1. Fibers: Loose connective tissue contains several types of fibers, including collagen fibers, elastic fibers, and reticular fibers. Collagen fibers provide strength and support to the tissue, while elastic fibers contribute to its elasticity and flexibility. Reticular fibers form a delicate mesh-like network, providing structural support to organs and tissues.
  2. Cells: The primary cell types found in loose connective tissue include fibroblasts, macrophages, mast cells, and adipocytes. Fibroblasts are responsible for synthesizing and secreting the extracellular matrix components, including the fibers. Macrophages are involved in immune responses, engulfing and digesting foreign particles and cellular debris. Mast cells play a role in allergic reactions and inflammation. Adipocytes, or fat cells, are present in adipose tissue, a specialized form of loose connective tissue that stores fat.
  3. Extracellular Matrix: The semi-fluid ground substance within loose connective tissue forms the extracellular matrix. It consists of a gel-like substance composed of water, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), proteoglycans, and glycoproteins. The extracellular matrix provides support, allows for nutrient and waste exchange, and facilitates cell migration.
  4. Vascularity: Loose connective tissue is highly vascular, meaning it has a rich blood supply. Blood vessels and capillaries penetrate the tissue, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the cells and removing metabolic waste products.
  5. Distribution: Loose connective tissue is widely distributed throughout the body. It is found beneath the skin (subcutaneous layer), providing support to the overlying epithelium. It forms a network around blood vessels, nerves, and muscles, ensuring their support and stability. Loose connective tissue is also present in the spaces between organs, acting as a cushioning and shock-absorbing material.
  6. Versatility: The structure of loose connective tissue allows for versatility in its functions. Its loose arrangement of fibers and cells enables flexibility, facilitating movement and elasticity in the tissues and organs. The semi-fluid matrix provides a medium for nutrient and waste exchange, as well as cell migration and communication.

Overall, the structure of loose connective tissue is characterized by its loosely arranged fibers, diverse cell types, and semi-fluid matrix. This structure provides support, flexibility, and cushioning, allowing the tissue to fulfill its various functions throughout the body.

Characteristics of Loose Connective Tissue

Loose connective tissue, also known as areolar connective tissue, possesses several distinct characteristics that contribute to its functionality within the body. Here are some key characteristics of loose connective tissue:

  1. Structural Composition: Loose connective tissue is composed of a combination of cells, fibers, and a semi-fluid ground substance. The fibers include collagen fibers, which are relatively wide and stain a light pink, and elastic fibers, which are thin and stain dark blue to black. The space between these fibers is filled with the ground substance, giving the tissue a loose consistency.
  2. Cell Types: The main cell types found in loose connective tissue include fibroblasts, macrophages, and mast cells. Fibroblasts are responsible for producing and secreting the fibers within the tissue. Macrophages play a role in immune responses, as they engulf and digest foreign particles and cellular debris. Mast cells are involved in allergic reactions and inflammation.
  3. Versatility: Loose connective tissue is a versatile type of tissue that is found throughout the body. It acts as a support structure and provides elasticity in areas where both qualities are required. It wraps around blood vessels, nerves, and muscles, providing support and keeping them in place. It also fills the spaces between organs, acting as a cushioning material.
  4. Distribution: Loose connective tissue is widely distributed in the body. It is found beneath the skin (subcutaneous layer), providing support to the overlying epithelium. It forms a network around blood and lymph vessels, helping to maintain their integrity. Loose connective tissue is also present in the abdominal cavity, supporting organs and filling the spaces between muscle fibers.
  5. Function: The functions of loose connective tissue include support, protection, and transportation. It acts as a scaffolding for the epithelium, providing structural support. It also serves as a shock absorber, protecting underlying structures from external forces. Additionally, loose connective tissue assists in the transportation of nutrients, waste products, and immune cells through the extracellular matrix.
  6. Extracellular Matrix: The semi-fluid ground substance within loose connective tissue forms the extracellular matrix. This matrix plays a crucial role in maintaining the tissue’s structural integrity and providing a medium for cell migration, nutrient exchange, and waste removal.

Overall, loose connective tissue is characterized by its flexible and supportive nature, its versatile distribution throughout the body, and its role in maintaining tissue structure and function. Its composition of cells, fibers, and ground substance contributes to its unique properties and enables it to fulfill various physiological roles.

Loose Connective Tissue Functions

Loose connective tissue, also known as areolar connective tissue, performs several important functions within the body. These functions contribute to the overall support, protection, and maintenance of various organs and tissues. Here are some key functions of loose connective tissue:

  1. Structural Support: Collagen fibers, which are present in loose connective tissue, provide strength and structural support to other tissues and organs. These fibers form a framework that helps maintain the shape and integrity of surrounding structures.
  2. Cushioning: Loose connective tissue acts as a cushion, providing a protective layer between organs and tissues. It helps absorb and distribute mechanical forces, reducing the risk of damage from external impacts or pressure.
  3. Elasticity: Elastic fibers within loose connective tissue provide elasticity to tissues and organs. These fibers allow the tissue to stretch and recoil, enabling flexibility and resilience. Elasticity is particularly important in structures that undergo repeated stretching and deformation, such as blood vessels and lungs.
  4. Blood Supply: Loose connective tissue plays a role in providing a blood supply to surrounding epithelial tissues. Blood vessels pass through and are supported by this tissue, ensuring that nearby tissues receive the necessary nutrients and oxygen for their proper functioning.
  5. Immune Response: Loose connective tissue responds promptly to epithelial damage or antigen interaction. The presence of immune cells, such as macrophages and mast cells, within the tissue allows for rapid recognition and response to potential threats. These cells help initiate immune responses, such as inflammation, to protect the body against pathogens or injury.
  6. Adipose Tissue Function: Adipose tissue, a specialized type of loose connective tissue, serves as a site for lipid storage. It acts as an energy reserve, storing excess nutrients in the form of triglycerides. Adipose tissue also provides insulation and padding, helping to regulate body temperature and protect vital organs.

Overall, loose connective tissue functions as a supportive and protective framework within the body. Its collagen and elastic fibers provide strength and elasticity, while its ability to cushion and distribute mechanical forces helps prevent tissue damage. Additionally, loose connective tissue plays a role in immune responses and provides a storage site for lipids. These functions contribute to the overall integrity and functioning of the body’s organs and tissues.

2. Dense Connective Tissue

  • Dense connective tissue, also known as dense connective tissue, is a type of connective tissue characterized by compactly packed fibroblast cells and fibers. Its main function is to provide support and transmit mechanical forces throughout the body. Dense connective tissue is less flexible than loose connective tissue due to its densely packed nature. This tissue can be further categorized into two types based on the arrangement of collagen fibers: dense regular tissue and dense irregular tissue.
  • Dense regular connective tissue is characterized by the regular orientation of collagen fibers. These fibers are present between parallel running bundles of fibers, providing strength and resistance to stretching in the direction of fiber orientation. An example of dense regular tissue is tendons, which connect muscles to bones. Tendons are responsible for transmitting forces generated by muscle contraction to bones, allowing for movement and stability. Ligaments are another example of dense regular tissue, connecting two bones together and providing support and stability to joints.
  • In contrast, dense irregular connective tissue exhibits an irregular or random arrangement of fibers. The fibers in this tissue are oriented in diverse directions, forming a mesh-like network. This irregular arrangement provides uniform strength in all directions, making the tissue highly resistant to stretching and tearing. Dense irregular tissue is commonly found in the dermis of the skin, where it provides structural support, elasticity, and protection.
  • Both types of dense connective tissue contain fibroblasts, which are responsible for synthesizing and maintaining the extracellular matrix, including the collagen fibers. Collagen fibers are the predominant type of fiber in dense connective tissue and contribute to its strength and durability.
  • Overall, dense connective tissue plays a crucial role in supporting and transmitting mechanical forces within the body. Its compact arrangement of fibers and fibroblast cells allows for effective resistance to tension and stress. Whether in the form of tendons and ligaments providing structural integrity to joints or the dermis of the skin providing strength and elasticity, dense connective tissue ensures the stability and functionality of various body structures.

Structure of Dense Connective Tissue

The structure of dense connective tissue is characterized by the tightly packed arrangement of collagen fibers and fibroblast cells. This tissue provides strength, support, and resistance to mechanical forces. Here is an overview of the structure of dense connective tissue:

  1. Collagen Fibers: Collagen fibers are the predominant component of dense connective tissue. These fibers are composed of collagen proteins that provide tensile strength and structural integrity. Collagen fibers are arranged in a parallel or irregular pattern depending on the type of dense connective tissue.
  2. Fibroblast Cells: Fibroblasts are the primary cells found within dense connective tissue. They are responsible for synthesizing and secreting the extracellular matrix components, including collagen fibers. Fibroblasts play a crucial role in maintaining the structure and function of the tissue.
  3. Extracellular Matrix: The extracellular matrix of dense connective tissue consists of collagen fibers, proteoglycans, and other glycoproteins. Collagen fibers form a dense network within the matrix, providing mechanical strength and support. Proteoglycans contribute to the tissue’s resilience and hydration by attracting and retaining water molecules.
  4. Vascularity: Dense connective tissue is relatively avascular, meaning it has a limited blood supply. Blood vessels are scarce within this tissue type, and the nutrients and oxygen required by the cells are obtained through diffusion from nearby blood vessels or surrounding tissues.
  5. Cellularity: Dense connective tissue has a relatively low cell density compared to other types of connective tissue. Fibroblast cells are dispersed throughout the tissue, contributing to the synthesis and maintenance of the extracellular matrix. The low cellularity allows for a high concentration of collagen fibers, which gives the tissue its strength.
  6. Subtypes: Dense connective tissue can be further classified into dense regular and dense irregular connective tissue, based on the arrangement of collagen fibers. In dense regular connective tissue, collagen fibers are aligned parallel to each other, providing strength and resistance along a specific direction. Examples of dense regular connective tissue include tendons and ligaments. In contrast, dense irregular connective tissue exhibits a more random arrangement of collagen fibers, offering strength and support in multiple directions. Dense irregular connective tissue is found in the dermis of the skin and provides structural integrity and protection.

Overall, the structure of dense connective tissue is characterized by the compact arrangement of collagen fibers and fibroblast cells. This unique structure gives the tissue its strength, support, and resistance to mechanical forces, enabling it to fulfill its various functions in the body.

Characteristics of Dense Connective Tissue

Dense connective tissue, also known as dense fibrous tissue, possesses several characteristic features that contribute to its strength, durability, and specialized functions. Here are some key characteristics of dense connective tissue:

  1. Collagen Fibers: Dense connective tissue is predominantly composed of collagen fibers, which are thick, strong, and resistant to stretching. These collagen fibers provide the tissue with its high tensile strength, enabling it to withstand mechanical forces and maintain structural integrity.
  2. Fibroblast Cells: Fibroblasts are the primary cells found in dense connective tissue. They are responsible for synthesizing and secreting the extracellular matrix components, including collagen fibers. Fibroblasts play a crucial role in maintaining the structure and function of the tissue.
  3. Arrangement of Fibers: The collagen fibers in dense connective tissue are densely packed and arranged in a regular or irregular pattern, depending on the type of tissue. In dense regular connective tissue, the collagen fibers are arranged in parallel bundles, offering strength and resistance to stretching in one direction. This arrangement is found in tendons and ligaments. In dense irregular connective tissue, the collagen fibers are oriented in multiple directions, providing strength and support in various planes. This type of tissue is present in the dermis of the skin.
  4. Vascularity: Dense connective tissue has a relatively low vascularity compared to other tissues. It is sparsely supplied with blood vessels, with nutrients and oxygen reaching the cells through diffusion from nearby blood vessels or surrounding tissues. The low vascularity contributes to the tissue’s durability and ability to withstand mechanical stress.
  5. Cellularity: Dense connective tissue has a relatively low cell density compared to loose connective tissue. The primary cell type, fibroblasts, are dispersed throughout the tissue and play a vital role in maintaining the extracellular matrix. The lower cellularity allows for a higher concentration of collagen fibers, which contributes to the tissue’s strength.
  6. Specialized Functions: Dense connective tissue has specialized functions depending on its location and arrangement of fibers. Dense regular connective tissue, such as tendons and ligaments, provides strength and stability to joints, enabling movement and supporting body structures. Dense irregular connective tissue in the dermis of the skin provides strength, elasticity, and protection.

Overall, the characteristics of dense connective tissue include its abundance of collagen fibers, arrangement of fibers, presence of fibroblast cells, low vascularity, and specialized functions based on its location. These features enable the tissue to withstand mechanical stress, provide structural support, and perform its specific functions within the body.

Functions of Dense Connective Tissue

Dense connective tissue serves various important functions in the body due to its unique structural characteristics. Here are some key functions of dense connective tissue:

  1. Mechanical Protection: One of the primary functions of dense connective tissue is to provide mechanical protection to the body. The dense arrangement of collagen fibers in both regular and irregular forms allows the tissue to withstand and counterbalance mechanical stress and pressure. Irregular dense connective tissue provides protection against multidirectional pressures, while regular dense connective tissue can resist one-way traction forces. This mechanical protection is particularly crucial in organs and structures where dense connective tissue is present, such as ligaments, capsules, and the dermis of the skin.
  2. Structural Support: Dense connective tissue, especially regular collagenous connective tissue, serves as a structural support system for organs and structures. It provides strength and stability to joints, ligaments, and other connective structures, ensuring proper alignment and functioning. The organized arrangement of collagen fibers in dense regular tissue allows it to resist stretching and provide structural integrity.
  3. Elasticity and Flexibility: Regular elastic dense connective tissue, characterized by the presence of elastic fibers, imparts elasticity and flexibility to the organs in which it is found. This allows the tissue to stretch and recoil, accommodating movement and flexion. For example, the presence of regular elastic connective tissue in large blood arteries enables them to expand during cardiac systolic ejection and maintain blood flow during diastole.
  4. Protection against Injuries: Dense connective tissue, especially in the form of the dermis of the skin, acts as a second line of defense against injuries. It provides a protective barrier against external forces, pathogens, and harmful substances. The dense arrangement of collagen fibers and the presence of various cell types within the tissue aid in defense mechanisms, preventing the entry of bacteria and other harmful agents.
  5. Suppleness and Barrier Function: The presence of dense connective tissue in the skin contributes to its suppleness and flexibility. It allows the skin to stretch and adapt to movements and changes in body shape. Additionally, the combination of cells and extracellular matrix in dense connective tissue forms a physical and chemical barrier that protects essential organs and structures from injury and infection.

In summary, the functions of dense connective tissue include mechanical protection, structural support, elasticity, flexibility, protection against injuries, suppleness, and barrier formation. Its unique characteristics and organization contribute to its ability to fulfill these vital roles in the body, ensuring proper function and safeguarding tissues and organs from mechanical stress and potential harm.

3. Specialized Connective Tissue

Specialized connective tissue refers to specific types of connective tissue that have unique structures and functions. Some examples of specialized connective tissue include cartilage, bone, blood, and lymph.

  • Cartilage: Cartilage is a firm and flexible connective tissue that provides support and structure to various parts of the body. It contains chondrocytes, which are specialized cells embedded within a solid and malleable matrix. Cartilage resists compression and can be found in locations such as the tip of the nose, outer ear, joints, between spinal column bones, and in the limbs and hands. While most cartilage in vertebrate embryos is eventually replaced by bones in adults, some cartilage structures persist throughout life.
  • Bone: Bone is a hard and rigid connective tissue that provides structural support, protects internal organs, and helps maintain the shape and posture of the body. It is composed of a non-pliable ground substance rich in calcium salts and collagen fibers, which give bone its strength. Osteocytes are bone cells that reside within small spaces called lacunae and secrete the bone matrix. Bones also have a network of canaliculi, tiny channels that allow communication between osteocytes and blood vessels. Bones can be classified into compact bone, which forms the outer layer, and spongy bone, which is found in the inner core. Compact bone contains units called osteons, while spongy bone consists of a mesh-like structure. Bones play a vital role in supporting soft tissues and organs and are involved in producing blood cells in the bone marrow.
  • Blood: Blood is a fluid connective tissue that circulates throughout the body, transporting various substances and providing essential functions. It consists of plasma, a liquid matrix, and cellular components such as red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. RBCs contain hemoglobin and are responsible for oxygen transport. WBCs play a crucial role in the immune system, defending against foreign substances and pathogens. Platelets are essential for blood clotting, preventing excessive bleeding. Plasma contains proteins, water, hormones, and other molecules that are involved in transporting nutrients, gases, waste products, and chemical signals throughout the body.
  • Lymph: Lymph is a fluid connective tissue that is closely related to the circulatory system. It is derived from interstitial fluid and plays a crucial role in the immune response and fluid balance. Lymph contains a liquid matrix and is rich in white blood cells, which help in defending against infections and removing toxins and waste materials. Lymph vessels collect excess tissue fluid and transport it back to the bloodstream, contributing to the overall circulation of the body.
Blood
Blood | Image Source: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-biology2/chapter/connective-tissues/

In summary, specialized connective tissues such as cartilage, bone, blood, and lymph have unique structures and functions that are essential for supporting the body, providing protection, enabling movement, and facilitating various physiological processes. Each type of specialized connective tissue plays a specific role in maintaining the overall structure, function, and homeostasis of the body.

Structure of Specialized Connective Tissue

The structure of specialized connective tissues can vary depending on their specific functions. Here is a brief overview of the structures of some common specialized connective tissues:

  1. Adipose Tissue:
    • Adipose tissue is composed of adipocytes, which are specialized fat cells.
    • Adipocytes store lipids or fats in the form of triglycerides within their cytoplasm.
    • The cells are surrounded by a thin network of blood vessels and connective tissue fibers.
  2. Cartilaginous Connective Tissue:
    • Cartilage is made up of cells called chondrocytes, which are embedded within an extracellular matrix.
    • The extracellular matrix is composed of collagen and elastic fibers, proteoglycans, and water.
    • Chondrocytes are located in small spaces called lacunae within the matrix.
    • There are three main types of cartilage: hyaline cartilage, elastic cartilage, and fibrocartilage, each with a slightly different composition and structure.
  3. Bone Tissue:
    • Bone tissue consists of specialized cells called osteocytes, which are located in small spaces called lacunae.
    • Osteocytes are interconnected through tiny channels called canaliculi, allowing them to communicate and exchange nutrients and waste products.
    • The extracellular matrix of bone is composed of collagen fibers, calcium phosphate, and other minerals, providing strength and rigidity.
    • Bone tissue is organized into units called osteons or Haversian systems, which consist of concentric layers of matrix surrounding a central canal that contains blood vessels and nerves.
  4. Lymphatic Tissue:
    • Lymphatic tissue is composed of various types of cells, including lymphocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells.
    • Lymphocytes are the primary cells involved in the immune response and are classified into B cells and T cells.
    • Lymphocytes are found within lymphoid organs such as lymph nodes, tonsils, and the spleen.
    • Lymphatic tissue also contains a network of lymphatic vessels that transport lymph, a clear fluid containing immune cells, throughout the body.
  5. Blood Tissue:
    • Blood tissue is composed of different types of cells suspended in a fluid matrix called plasma.
    • Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are specialized for oxygen transport and have a biconcave shape without a nucleus.
    • White blood cells (leukocytes) include various types such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils, each with specific roles in the immune system.
    • Platelets (thrombocytes) are cell fragments involved in blood clotting.
    • Plasma, the liquid component of blood, contains water, proteins (such as albumin and globulins), hormones, nutrients, gases, and waste products.

Overall, specialized connective tissues have unique structures that enable them to carry out their specific functions effectively. The composition of cells, fibers, and extracellular matrix varies among different types of specialized connective tissues, reflecting their distinct roles in the body.

Characteristics of Specialized Connective Tissue

Specialized connective tissues exhibit certain characteristics that distinguish them from other types of tissues in the body. Here are some key characteristics of specialized connective tissue:

  1. Specialized Cell Types: Each specialized connective tissue contains specific cell types that are unique to that tissue. For example, adipose tissue contains adipocytes (fat cells), cartilage has chondrocytes, bone tissue has osteocytes, lymphatic tissue contains lymphocytes, and blood tissue has various types of blood cells, including erythrocytes (red blood cells), leukocytes (white blood cells), and thrombocytes (platelets). These specialized cells are adapted to perform their specific functions within the tissue.
  2. Extracellular Matrix (ECM): Specialized connective tissues have an extracellular matrix that surrounds and supports the cells. The composition of the ECM can vary among different tissues. It typically includes proteins such as collagen, elastin, and fibronectin, as well as ground substance, which is a gel-like substance composed of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), proteoglycans, and water. The ECM provides structural integrity, elasticity, and mechanical support to the tissue.
  3. Fiber Arrangement: Specialized connective tissues may contain different types of fibers within their extracellular matrix. Collagen fibers, which are strong and flexible, are commonly found in various connective tissues and provide tensile strength. Elastic fibers, as the name suggests, are highly elastic and allow tissues to stretch and recoil. Reticular fibers form a delicate network that supports the cells and structures within the tissue.
  4. Vascularization: The vascularization of specialized connective tissues can vary. Some tissues, such as adipose tissue and cartilage, have limited or no blood vessels within their structure. Nutrients and oxygen are supplied to these tissues through diffusion from nearby blood vessels. In contrast, bone tissue and blood tissue have a rich blood supply, allowing for efficient nutrient delivery, waste removal, and immune cell transportation.
  5. Functional Specialization: Each specialized connective tissue has a specific function that contributes to the overall functioning of the body. For example, adipose tissue stores energy, insulates the body, and cushions organs. Cartilage provides support and flexibility to joints and other structures. Bone tissue provides structural support, protects organs, and serves as a reservoir for minerals. Lymphatic tissue plays a crucial role in the immune response. Blood tissue transports oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and immune cells throughout the body.
  6. Regenerative Capacity: The regenerative capacity of specialized connective tissues can vary. Some tissues, like adipose tissue and bone tissue, have the ability to regenerate and repair themselves to some extent. However, other tissues, such as cartilage, have limited regenerative capacity and may heal slowly or with the formation of scar tissue. The regenerative potential of specialized connective tissues depends on factors such as the tissue type, the extent of damage, and the individual’s overall health.

These characteristics collectively contribute to the unique structure and function of specialized connective tissues, allowing them to perform their specialized roles in the body and maintain tissue homeostasis.

Functions of Specialized Connective Tissue

Specialized connective tissues have distinct functions and play important roles in the body. Here are the functions of some specific types of specialized connective tissues:

  1. Adipose Tissue: Adipose tissue serves as a specialized connective tissue primarily composed of lipids or fats. Its main function is energy storage, insulation, and protection. Adipose tissue acts as a cushioning layer around organs, providing them with mechanical support and protection against impacts. It also plays a role in regulating body temperature and hormone production.
  2. Cartilaginous Connective Tissue: Cartilage is a type of specialized connective tissue that provides support and flexibility. It acts as a cushion between bones, reducing friction and absorbing shock in joints. Cartilage also helps in maintaining the shape and structure of body parts, such as the nose, ears, and trachea.
  3. Bone Tissue: Bones are rigid and hard connective tissues that provide support, protection, and movement. The functions of bone tissue include structural support for the body, protection of vital organs, attachment sites for muscles, production of blood cells in the bone marrow, and storage of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus.
  4. Lymphatic Tissue: The lymphatic system consists of specialized connective tissues, including lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, and lymphoid organs. Its primary function is to assist in the body’s immune defense system. Lymphatic tissue helps filter and remove foreign substances, pathogens, and cellular debris from the body. It also plays a role in transporting immune cells and fluid (lymph) throughout the body to fight infections and maintain fluid balance.
  5. Blood Tissue: Blood is a specialized connective tissue that circulates throughout the body, carrying oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and waste products. It consists of various types of cells, including red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets, suspended in a liquid matrix called plasma. The functions of blood tissue include oxygen transport, nutrient delivery, waste removal, immune defense, blood clotting, and maintaining pH and temperature balance.

In summary, specialized connective tissues such as adipose tissue, cartilaginous tissue, bone tissue, lymphatic tissue, and blood tissue have specific functions in the body, ranging from energy storage and insulation to support, protection, immune defense, and transport of essential substances. These tissues contribute to the overall structure, function, and homeostasis of the body.

Connective Tissue Disorder

  • Connective tissue disorders encompass a range of conditions that affect the body’s connective tissues, which provide support, structure, and elasticity to various organs and systems. These disorders can arise from genetic mutations or inherited faulty genes, as well as autoimmune reactions where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. Two notable genetic disorders of connective tissue are epidermolysis bullosa (EB) and Marfan syndrome, while autoimmune connective tissue disorders include systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and scleroderma.
  • Marfan syndrome is caused by defective genes that produce fibrillin-1, a protein crucial for maintaining the integrity of connective tissues. Individuals with Marfan syndrome often exhibit a distinct physical appearance, characterized by a tall and thin body with long limbs. Their fingers and toes may be elongated and resemble the legs of a spider. Apart from the physical characteristics, Marfan syndrome can also affect the cardiovascular system, eyes, and skeletal structure.
  • Epidermolysis bullosa (EB), another genetic connective tissue disorder, primarily affects the skin. Individuals with EB have exceptionally fragile skin that is prone to blistering and tearing even with minimal friction or trauma. The condition is characterized by extreme skin oversensitivity, and individuals with EB often require specialized care to prevent injury and manage complications associated with skin fragility.
  • Autoimmune connective tissue disorders occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly targets and attacks its own tissues. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is one such disorder that involves chronic inflammation affecting multiple organs and systems, including the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, and lungs. Common symptoms of SLE include fever, swollen and painful joints, mouth ulcers, hair loss, and a distinct butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another autoimmune connective tissue disorder characterized by chronic inflammation, primarily targeting the synovium, the membrane lining the joints. The immune system’s attack on the synovium can lead to joint damage, pain, stiffness, and deformities, significantly affecting a person’s mobility and quality of life.
  • Scleroderma is a connective tissue disorder characterized by abnormal thickening and hardening of the skin and other connective tissues. This disorder can be localized, affecting specific areas of the skin, or systemic, impacting internal organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and digestive system. Scleroderma can lead to various symptoms depending on the affected organs, including skin tightening, joint stiffness, difficulty swallowing, lung fibrosis, and kidney problems.
  • Diagnosing connective tissue disorders often involves a combination of clinical evaluation, medical history assessment, genetic testing, imaging studies, and laboratory tests to evaluate the immune system’s activity and detect specific antibodies associated with autoimmune disorders.
  • While treatment options for connective tissue disorders vary depending on the specific condition, they often aim to manage symptoms, prevent complications, and improve the patient’s quality of life. Treatments may include medications to reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and suppress the immune system in autoimmune disorders. Physical and occupational therapies can help manage joint stiffness and improve mobility. Additionally, ongoing monitoring and multidisciplinary care involving specialists from various medical fields are crucial for effectively managing these complex disorders.
  • In conclusion, connective tissue disorders encompass a range of genetic and autoimmune conditions that affect the body’s connective tissues. From genetic disorders like Marfan syndrome and epidermolysis bullosa to autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma, these conditions can have significant impacts on various organs and systems. Timely diagnosis, comprehensive medical care, and ongoing management can help individuals with connective tissue disorders live fulfilling lives despite the challenges they may face.

Functions of Connective tissue

Connective tissue performs a variety of functions in the human body. These functions are essential for providing structural support, connecting and protecting organs, storing energy, and participating in immune responses. Here are some key functions of connective tissue:

  1. Structural Support: Connective tissue provides structural support to various organs, tissues, and body structures. For example, dense connective tissue, such as tendons and ligaments, connect muscles to bones and bones to each other, providing stability and facilitating movement. Cartilage and bone also provide structural support to the body, forming the framework for organs and protecting them.
  2. Connective and Binding Function: Connective tissue binds and connects different tissues and organs together. It forms sheaths, capsules, and membranes that hold organs in place and maintain their relative positions. Loose connective tissue, for instance, surrounds and supports blood vessels, nerves, and glands.
  3. Mechanical Protection: Connective tissue plays a role in mechanically protecting delicate organs and structures. For example, adipose tissue acts as a cushioning layer around organs, protecting them from mechanical impact and providing insulation.
  4. Energy Storage: Adipose tissue, commonly known as fat tissue, serves as a major energy storage site. It stores excess energy in the form of triglycerides, which can be mobilized and utilized by the body during times of energy demand or fasting.
  5. Transport and Exchange: Blood, a specialized connective tissue, transports oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and waste products throughout the body. It circulates through blood vessels and enables the exchange of gases, nutrients, and metabolic waste between tissues and organs.
  6. Immune Response: Connective tissue, specifically lymphoid tissue, is involved in the body’s immune response. Lymphoid tissue, including lymph nodes, tonsils, and spleen, contains specialized immune cells that help identify and eliminate pathogens and foreign substances from the body.
  7. Repair and Wound Healing: Connective tissue plays a vital role in the repair and healing of injured tissues. Fibroblasts, a type of connective tissue cell, migrate to the site of injury and produce new extracellular matrix components, such as collagen fibers, to aid in tissue regeneration and scar formation.
  8. Maintenance of Homeostasis: Connective tissue helps maintain the homeostasis, or internal balance, of the body. It provides support and structure to maintain the proper functioning of organs and systems, and it participates in processes like inflammation and tissue repair to restore homeostasis after injury or infection.

These functions highlight the importance of connective tissue in maintaining the integrity and functionality of the body’s structures and systems.

Examples of Connective tissue

There are several types of connective tissue found in the human body, each with its own unique structure and function. Here are some examples of connective tissue:

  1. Loose Connective Tissue: Also known as areolar tissue, it is the most widely distributed connective tissue in the body. It forms a delicate, flexible framework that surrounds and supports organs, blood vessels, and nerves. It contains collagen and elastic fibers, fibroblasts, and various types of immune cells.
  2. Dense Connective Tissue: This type of connective tissue is characterized by densely packed collagen fibers that provide strength and resistance to stretching. It can be found in tendons (connecting muscles to bones), ligaments (connecting bones to other bones), and the dermis layer of the skin.
  3. Adipose Tissue: Adipose tissue, or fat tissue, is responsible for storing energy in the form of fat. It consists of adipocytes (fat cells) that are surrounded by a minimal amount of ECM. Adipose tissue functions as insulation, cushioning, and energy storage.
  4. Cartilage: Cartilage is a flexible and semi-rigid connective tissue that provides support and shape to various structures in the body. It contains cells called chondrocytes embedded in a dense network of collagen and elastic fibers. Cartilage is found in the nose, ears, joints, and between the vertebrae.
  5. Bone: Bone is a specialized connective tissue that forms the structural framework of the body. It is composed of cells called osteocytes embedded in a mineralized ECM consisting of collagen fibers and calcium phosphate crystals. Bone provides support, protection of organs, and serves as a site for hematopoiesis (production of blood cells).
  6. Blood: Blood is a fluid connective tissue that circulates throughout the body, delivering oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and immune cells. It consists of red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and cell fragments called platelets suspended in a liquid ECM called plasma.
  7. Lymphoid Tissue: Lymphoid tissue is an essential part of the immune system. It includes lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus, and spleen. Lymphoid tissue contains specialized cells, such as lymphocytes, along with reticular fibers and ECM components. It plays a crucial role in filtering and fighting against pathogens.

These are just a few examples of connective tissue in the human body. Each type has its own structure and function, contributing to the overall support, protection, and coordination of bodily functions.

FAQ

What is connective tissue?

Connective tissue is a diverse type of tissue in the body that provides support, connection, and protection to various organs, tissues, and structures. It is characterized by an extracellular matrix composed of protein fibers and ground substance.

What are the main types of connective tissue?

The main types of connective tissue include loose connective tissue, dense connective tissue, adipose tissue, cartilage, bone, blood, and lymphoid tissue.

What is the function of connective tissue?

Connective tissue performs functions such as providing structural support, connecting and protecting organs, storing energy, participating in immune responses, and facilitating transport and exchange of substances.

What are the cells found in connective tissue?

Connective tissue contains various types of cells, including fibroblasts, adipocytes (fat cells), macrophages, mast cells, white blood cells, chondrocytes (in cartilage), osteocytes (in bone), and different types of immune cells.

What are the main protein fibers in connective tissue?

The main protein fibers in connective tissue are collagen fibers, elastic fibers, and reticular fibers. Collagen fibers provide strength, elastic fibers allow for stretching and recoiling, and reticular fibers form a delicate network.

How is connective tissue vascularized?

The vascularization of connective tissue varies depending on the type. Some connective tissues, like cartilage and tendons, have a limited blood supply, while others, such as bone and adipose tissue, are highly vascularized.

Can connective tissue be regenerated?

Connective tissue has varying regenerative capacities depending on the type. For example, dense connective tissue has limited regeneration, while bone has a good ability to heal and regenerate.

What happens when connective tissue is damaged?

When connective tissue is damaged, fibroblasts and other cells migrate to the site of injury to initiate a healing response. They produce new extracellular matrix components and aid in tissue repair and regeneration.

Can diseases affect connective tissue?

Yes, there are several diseases that can affect connective tissue. Some examples include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, fibrosis, Marfan syndrome, and various autoimmune disorders.

How can connective tissue health be maintained?

Maintaining connective tissue health involves adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking. Adequate hydration and proper wound care also contribute to connective tissue health.

References

  • https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/overview-and-types-of-connective-tissue
  • https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-biology2/chapter/connective-tissues/
  • https://www.onlinebiologynotes.com/connective-tissue-characteristics-functions-types/
  • https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/connective-tissue-definition-functions-types-examples/
  • http://histologyguide.com/slidebox/03-connective-tissue.html
  • https://openstax.org/books/anatomy-and-physiology-2e/pages/4-3-connective-tissue-supports-and-protects
  • https://biologydictionary.net/connective-tissue/#connective-tissue-disease
  • https://www.aakash.ac.in/important-concepts/biology/dense-connective-tissue#section2

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