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Connective tissue

Synonym: supporting tissue
German: Bindegewebe

1 Definition

The connective tissue is a basic tissue composed of connective tissue cells and intercellular substance that, from evolutionary perspective, derives from the mesoderm.

2 Background

Connective tissue can be classified again into connective tissue in a narrow sense, whose representatives differ especially regarding their fiber quality and density, and the supporting tissue, i.e. the bone and cartilage tissue.

3 Histology

Histologically, the connective tissue consists of mobile and sessile cells (eg. Fibrocytes) that are embedded in an extracellular matrix from collagen, other fibrillar proteins and amorphous basic substance. The extracellular matrix forms a three-dimensional meshwork together with the cells, and its interstices are filled by proteoglycanes. While the cell-fiber-framework guarantees the resistance of the connective tissue against tractive forces, the strongly swelling basic substance from proteoglycanes serves the uptake and distribution of compression forces. The interaction of both characteristics is the basis of the shape consistency of the organs.

The stem cells of the different types of connective tissue have a helical to round shape and are not polarized. They are still able to differentiate as mobile blast cells and take part in the construction of the extracellular matrix of the connective tissue, or serve the tissue homeostasis as differentiated cells.

4 Function

The connective tissue has different functions and therefore shows a diverse, inhomogeneous picture in histology. According to its location, it fills the interstitium, protects and coats the organs or structures of the organism, serves as lead structure for conducting pathways or functions as sliding and shifting layer. Specialized connective tissues can take part in the storage and production of substances, and they form the supporting and stabilizing structures of the body.

5 Types of connective tissue

Principally, you differentiate between shaped and non-shaped connective tissue according to the ratio of cells to extracellular matrix. Additionally, you can make another classification according to morphological criteria:

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