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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Identify and distinguish between the types of connective tissue: proper, supportive, and fluid
  • Explain the functions of connective tissues

As may be obvious from its name, one of the major functions of connective tissue is to connect tissues and organs. Unlike epithelial tissue, which is composed of cells closely packed with little or no extracellular space in between, connective tissue cells are dispersed in a matrix    . The matrix usually includes a large amount of extracellular material produced by the connective tissue cells that are embedded within it. The matrix plays a major role in the functioning of this tissue. The major component of the matrix is a ground substance    often crisscrossed by protein fibers. This ground substance is usually a fluid, but it can also be mineralized and solid, as in bones. Connective tissues come in a vast variety of forms, yet they typically have in common three characteristic components: cells, large amounts of amorphous ground substance, and protein fibers. The amount and structure of each component correlates with the function of the tissue, from the rigid ground substance in bones supporting the body to the inclusion of specialized cells; for example, a phagocytic cell that engulfs pathogens and also rids tissue of cellular debris.

Functions of connective tissues

Connective tissues perform many functions in the body, but most importantly, they support and connect other tissues; from the connective tissue sheath that surrounds muscle cells, to the tendons that attach muscles to bones, and to the skeleton that supports the positions of the body. Protection is another major function of connective tissue, in the form of fibrous capsules and bones that protect delicate organs and, of course, the skeletal system. Specialized cells in connective tissue defend the body from microorganisms that enter the body. Transport of fluid, nutrients, waste, and chemical messengers is ensured by specialized fluid connective tissues, such as blood and lymph. Adipose cells store surplus energy in the form of fat and contribute to the thermal insulation of the body.

Embryonic connective tissue

All connective tissues derive from the mesodermal layer of the embryo (see [link] ). The first connective tissue to develop in the embryo is mesenchyme    , the stem cell line from which all connective tissues are later derived. Clusters of mesenchymal cells are scattered throughout adult tissue and supply the cells needed for replacement and repair after a connective tissue injury. A second type of embryonic connective tissue forms in the umbilical cord, called mucous connective tissue    or Wharton’s jelly. This tissue is no longer present after birth, leaving only scattered mesenchymal cells throughout the body.

Classification of connective tissues

The three broad categories of connective tissue are classified according to the characteristics of their ground substance and the types of fibers found within the matrix ( [link] ). Connective tissue proper includes loose connective tissue    and dense connective tissue    . Both tissues have a variety of cell types and protein fibers suspended in a viscous ground substance. Dense connective tissue is reinforced by bundles of fibers that provide tensile strength, elasticity, and protection. In loose connective tissue, the fibers are loosely organized, leaving large spaces in between. Supportive connective tissue —bone and cartilage—provide structure and strength to the body and protect soft tissues. A few distinct cell types and densely packed fibers in a matrix characterize these tissues. In bone, the matrix is rigid and described as calcified because of the deposited calcium salts. In fluid connective tissue    , in other words, lymph and blood, various specialized cells circulate in a watery fluid containing salts, nutrients, and dissolved proteins.

Questions & Answers

I don't understand please
Esther Reply
hey
Austine
good evening boss
Austine
Evening
Esther
good evening
Melissa
evening
Vitus
hi
Rodgers
good morning
Aurelia
hello
Helsa
you guys are from ?
Aurelia
Philippines
Helsa
hi Gays
Ihsan
im from india
Aurelia
Hello
Amos
why
Sami
wat
Rodgers
what's that
Gift
what's the medulla?
alhussiney Reply
The medulla oblongata or simply medulla is a long stem-like structure which makes up the lower part of the brainstem. It is anterior and partially inferior to the cerebellum
Ludmila
define bone in simple terms
Mhoses Reply
bones are made up by collagen and calcium phosphate
Aurelia
yes
Confidence
Bones are the hard large calcareous connective tissue of which the adult skeleton of most vertebrates is chiefly composed
Olalekan
Bone is the substance that forms skeleton
Frances
good morning
Mrinal
Skelton muscles is any disorder of calcium
Mrinal
Bones protect the various organs of the body
Celina
Bone is a hard strong and durable type of connective tissue
Bkv
bone is a hard, calcareous connective tissue which gives structural support to the body and helpless in its locomotion!
Divya
It also is the main site for synthesis of the RBCs
Divya
A diagram of epithelial tissue
Emmanuel Reply
What does the urinary regulate blood pressure
Jennifer Reply
functions of melatonin
marion Reply
d. inversely proportional
John Reply
Airway resistance in the human lung is? a. Greatest in the generation of distal bronchioles in healthy people because these airways have the smallest radii b. Not increased during a forced expiration in a healthy subject c. Decreased when breathing through the mouth d. Inversely proportional
Maryam Reply
1. Chemical level 2. Cellular level 3.Tissue level 4. Organ level 5.Organ system level 5.Organismal level
Jamela Reply
d
HMD
High
HMD
why there is bleeding in menstruation?
KUHELI Reply
menopause
Vasu
no
KUHELI
no one ready to help me
Maryam
skin
The following hormones increase the blood glucose level except_____________? a. Parathormone b. Growth Hormone c. Epinephrine d. Thyroxine
Maryam
c.epinephrine
Divya
Which of the following is NOT a characteristic feature of alveoli in the lung? a. Poor blood supply b. A large surface area c. Thin walls d. Chemical layer called surfactant
Maryam
a.poor blood supply
Divya
poor blood supply
Tanvi
Excess of cortisol causes______________? a. Acromegaly b. Conn’s syndrome c. Diabetes insipidus d. Cushing syndrome
Maryam
plz fast
Maryam
cushing syndrome
Tanvi
thank you
Maryam
Airway resistance in the human lung is? a. Greatest in the generation of distal bronchioles in healthy people because these airways have the smallest radii b. Not increased during a forced expiration in a healthy subject c. Decreased when breathing through the mouth d. Inversely proportional
Maryam
what happens to the brain when one cannot sleep
aghedo
name temporary endocrine gland in female.
KUHELI Reply
when does 1st meiotic division occur in male ?
KUHELI Reply
spermatogenesis
Vasu
) Which of the following best describes the human body's defense mechanism against environmental bacteria?
Homeostasis
Zeinab
What the answer plz
Zeinab
skin
KUHELI
Kuheli but I think skin is an organ not defence mechanism
Zeinab
Homeostasis is the system responsible for body response to external changes
Eliaz
skin
skin
Kharim
what is an inflammation
Lodrick Reply
it's a reaction from a body tissue
Perpenjeng
is the body own mechanism of fighting against disease especially infections or injuries.
Azapa
Inflammation is a tissue response to damage tissues
Zeinab
The following hormones increase the blood glucose level except_____________? a. Parathormone b. Growth Hormone c. Epinephrine d. Thyroxine
Maryam
which cells are responsible for bone formation?
Richard Reply
osteocytes
Sharon
Oestocytes
Zeinab
osteocytes
Vasu
The following hormones increase the blood glucose level except_____________? a. Parathormone b. Growth Hormone c. Epinephrine d. Thyroxine
Maryam

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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