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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

If a molecule can only pass through a membrane with the assistance of a membrane protein, but the direction of its travel is controlled only by its concentration, the process is called?
osmosis
chozen
A 52 year old woman turned her head quickly, during a tennis game and suddenly felt a sharp pain in her neck along her upper limb. Physical examination and medical imaging revealed a herniated degenerated IV disc in the cervical region of her vertebral column.
Isaac
a. What probably caused the IV disc herniation? b. What cause IV disc degeneration? c. What are the result of disc degeneration?
Isaac
Describe the neural control of erection and ejaculation.
Nana Reply
A 52 year old woman turned her head quickly, during a tennis game and suddenly felt a sharp pain in her neck along her upper limb. Physical examination and medical imaging revealed a herniated degenerated IV disc in the cervical region of her vertebral column. a)What probably caused the IV di
Isaac
a) What probably caused the IV disc herniation? b) What cause IV disc degeneration? c) What are the result of disc degeneration?
Isaac
iv disc herniation compress the nerve cause numbness tingling sensation even paralysis in severe cases...
Khawaja
explain more
DANIELLA Reply
yes
Ramzan
function of skeleton
Josiah Reply
- for movement - blood production by the bone marrow
Daniel
production of calsium and phosphorus
Juma
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac
what is heart
Subhajit Reply
it is the tissue..which pump blood to the all parts of body
GRAY
the heart is a conical , hollow, muscular organ which works continuously through out the life of a person ,it is about the size of a clenched fist and weighs about 300 grams and also the heart is in the chest just behind the breast bone and between the two lungs
Mary
a hollow muscular organ that pumps blood through the circulatory system by regular contractions
Johnny
is a muscular organ that pumps blood lungs and other body tissues through vessels
Nolosha
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac Reply
inguinal fossa femoral vein?
Jeen
if you dont the answer by now you should seek another line of work. as a professor it is my duty to let you know about your lacking.
Arif
branches of brachial plexus
Arooj Reply
musculocutaneous, median, ulnar, axillary, and radial nerves.
Shakerah
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. a.What fossa related the perineal swelling? b.Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac
What is great Auricular nerve?
ZUBAIR Reply
it originates from the cervical plexus that provides sensory innervation to the skin.
Daniel
why it is called Auricular nerve
Amber
is any payment is needed to use this app
Suprith Reply
is it a question?
Samenjo
doubt about this app
Suprith
which lines divide the body into nine quadrant
Julius Reply
nine regions of abdomen can b marked using two horizontal & two vertical lines...the vertical lines are the mid clavicular lines taken from the mid point of each clavicle. the upper horizontal lines is the subcostal line taken from the inferior parts of the lowest costal cartilage...
Khawaja
to get a better understanding for the function
Rashana Reply
anatomy and physiology work closely together
Rashana
anatomy to you about the structure of the while physiology is the the study of the body function
Rashana
what is the difference between negative and positive feedback
Rashana
The key difference bewteen positive and negative feedback is their response to change. Positive feedback amplifies change while negative reduces change.
ladychen
negative feed back produces a response that brings back to normal while positive feed back produces a response that stimulates
Julius
examples of the body structure
Naki Reply
body's structure
Naki
how is it possible
Adum Reply
what is homeostasis please
Ayobami Reply
Homeostasis is the ability of the body to maintain a constant internal environment, regulation factors such as the body's temperature, pH, water balance, blood pressure.
Jude
that is true
Maria
A young man was playing in a hockey game when he was knocked down, he was not wearing a helmet and hit his head on the ground. He momently stunned and said he saw stars. The man’s vision was blurred for approximately 20 seconds. He left to his bench and showed no other sign of injury except tha
Isaac
that he complained of lingering head ached.
Isaac
1.Do you think the person would have a fracture skull? Explain your answer 2What will the lingering headache indicate 3. If you detected clear fluid dipping from the person nose. What do you suspect might be the source of the fluids?
Isaac
if he broke his skull he will have not survied
Maria
1. if there were no other signs of external injury such as blood or bruising around area of impact or areas of the face, then he more than likely didn't fracture his skull 2. lingering headache could indicate a concussion 3. clear fluid dripping from nose would suggest a cerebrospinal fluid leak
Amber
(and fracturing of the skull does not indicate the person would not survive, of course dependant upon the severity of the impact & internal damage caused)
Amber
what is homeostasis
Rashana
function of microvilli
Suprith
it gives the small intestine a wider surface area which helps absorption to take place
Enada
please what is a lymph
Ayobami Reply
lymphoma is a type of cancer
Maria
No.Lymphoma is not any type of cancer.....
Vivek
simple lymph is a tissue fluid less in plasma proteins which produces during tissue filteration...
Khawaja
lymphoma is a lymphatic cancer either Hodgkin's lymphoma & non Hodgkin's lymphoma..
Khawaja
Yes lymphoma is a lymphatic cancer
Loving

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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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