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Connective Tissue II

Connective Tissue Proper

1. The Matrix - soft

2. Fibers
3. Fixed & Wandering cells
4. Types of connective tissue proper
a. Loose irregular connective tissue: mesentaries, lamina propria
b. Dense regular connective tissue:
1. ligaments:connect bone to bone,
2. tendons connect muscle to bone
3. harness the contractile force generated by muscular contraction
c. Dense irregular connective tissue, dermis of skin, submucosa etc.
d. Specialized connective tissues
1. Adipose connective tissues
2. Elastic connective tissues
3. Reticular connective tissues


1. Are synthesized by Fibroblasts

2. Three types can be distinguished, morphologically and histochemically
3. Collagenous fibers (White)
a. 30% of body weight
b. Produced by the fibroblast
c. Tropocollagen - side to side, end to end
d. High in glycine 33.5%, hydroxyproline 10%, proline
e. 1% hexose
f. Synthetic process, see text
g. Most mumerous
h. Thick wavy bundles, never branch
i. Striated
j. Acidophilic - blue, aniline blue; green in sometrichrome, yellow with
4. Elastic fibers (Yellow)

a. These are solid, single fibrotubules with amorphous center region

Mature amorphous material predominates
b. Thinner than a collagenous fiber
c. Branch extensively and unite
d. Non-striated
e. Scleroprotein - elastin, hydrolyzed by elastase
f. Can stretch to 1 and 1 half its lenth and returns
g. Special stains (orcein, resorcin-fusin) are used
5. Reticular Fibers
a. Produced by Reticular cells
b. Not visible in H & E preparations
c. Extremely fine, argyrophilic fibers (need silver
preparations, right)
d. PAS+, high hexose content 6-12%
e. Predominate in Lymphoid Organs ( Lymph nodes, spleen, thymus,
bone marrow)
f. Abundent in embryo and replaced by Collagen in the adult


1. Fills space between cells and fibers

2. Secreted by fibroblast
3. Acid mucopolysaccharides, glycoproteins, water, minerals
4. Stains, PAS+, metachromatic with Toluidine Blue
5. Tissue fluid minimal, except in Edema (venous or lymphatic obstruction,
6. See chart in text


1. General characteristics
a. Found in the spaces between the meshwork of fibers.
b. Many C.T. cells develope from the fibroblast of C.T. proper
c. Many different types of cells found in areolar (loose irregular) tissue
2. Fibroblast.
a. Form fibers
b. Cytoplasm clear
c. Irregular cell shape
d. Nuclei, easily seen, slightly elongate lightly stained
3. Histiocytes (macrophages)
a. Next most common cell.
b. They can be best seen in tissue
c. taken from experimental animals which have been injected with
certain vital stains.
d. Related to monocytes (blood.)
e. Distinguished from fibrocytes by their more darkly staining nuclei
f. See table below

Cell type Fibroblast Histiocyte

Long, flat to spindle Flat, round to spindle
Cell shape
Processes 1-several Sometimes branched
In groups or among
Location Near collagenous fibers fibroblasts. Near
vascular areas.
Smaller, heavy membrane
Large, oval, slightly slightly folded
Nucleus folded and delicate Irregularly oval or
membrane lightly stained kidney shaped, darkly
Chromatin Dust-like Coarse & dark
Nucleoli One or many, large No Large
Cytoplasm Poorly staining R Stains dark

4. Mast cells
a. Centrally located nucleus
b. Basophilic granules (similar to Basophil of circulating blood)
1. Heparin (redish purple stain with toluidine blue)
2. Histamine, release triggered by membrane binding of IgE
from plasma cell
3. Contraction of smooth muscle, mostly in bronchioles
4. Dilates blood vessels, increases premeability of capillaries
5. SRS-A, slow reacting substance of anaphylaxis,
release triggered by membrane binding of IgE from plasma
contraction of smooth muscle
6. ECF-A, eosinophil chemotactic factor,
release triggered by membrane binding of IgE from plasma
attracks eosinophils
5. Plasma cells, antibody producing
a. Oval cell
b. Nucleus, :clock face", off center,
toward one end
c. Basophilic cytoplasm
d. Few in number, increases in
chronic infection
e. Area of bacterial penetration
f. Develops from activated B lymphocyte
6. Adipose cells, fat cells
a. Fibroblast cytoplasm becomes filled with
1. White fat - unilocular, contain a
single large fat droplet.
2. Brown fat - multilocular, contains
many smaller fat droplets
7. Leukocytes
a. Lymphocytes small B & T cells found in lamina propria, migrate into
life days to weeks, some months to years
b. Eosinophils
8. Chromatocytes, pigment cells

Connective Tissue Types

1. Embryonic Connective Tissue

a. Mesenchyme.
1. Embryonic tissue from which most of the mature connective
tissues develop.
2. Three dimensional network of stellate cells.
b. Mucoid Connective Tissue in Umbilical Cord
1. Wharton's jelly
2. Matrix - chiefly of hyaluronic acid,
3. Fibers-collagen, with few elastic or reticular fibers.
4. Cells - mainly fibroblasts.
2. Connective Tissue Proper.
a. Loose (Areolar) Connective Tissue
1. Flexable
2. Not very resistant to stress
3. Mostly amorphous ground substance (Matrix)
4. All connective tissue compounents , cells & fibers, found here
5. Supports epithelial tissue, serosal linings of peritoneal and pleural
cavities, encircles blood vessels & lymphatics, between muscle
fobers and sheaths
b. Dense Irregular Connective Tissue
1. Stress resistant in all directions
2. Less flexable than loose areolar C.T.
3. 3d network of fibeers
4. Fewer cells than loose areolar C.T.
5. More collagen fibers
6. Fibroblast, most common cell type
7. Dermis of skin, submucosa if intestines, capsules around Spleen,
Lynpg nodes, and Ganglia
c. Dense Regular Connective Tissue
1. Also called Collagenous or Fibrous connective tissue
2. Coarse collagenous fibers all running parallel with the fibrocytes
in a linear arrangement
3. Stress in ONE direction
4. Great resistance to traction forces
5. Tendons: Primary bundles bound into larger bundles,
surrounded by loose C. T. with blood vessels & nreves
6. Sheath of Dense Irregular Connective Tissue
d. Elastic Tissue
1. Yellow, highly elastic
2. Bundles of parrallel elastic fibers, fibroblasts between fibers
3. Similar to tendon, but the collagenous fiber bundles are replaced
by coarse elastic fibers.
4. Aorta, Ligamentum nuchae, yellow ligaments of vertebral column
3. Connective Tissue with Special Properties
a. Reticular tissue.
1. Framework of many organs, particularly glands.
2. Characteristic fiber, argyrophil reticular fiber
3. Reticular fibers produced by Reticular cells (specialized
4. Stellate cells with long processes, large nuclei, fine chromatine, 1
or more nuclei
5. Cytoplasmic processes resemble those of primitive mesenchymal
6. Free cells characteristic of the organ found in the reticular
7. Bone marrow, Lymph nodes, Spleen, Thymus, Framework of
hematopoietic tissue
b. Adipose tissue.
1. Function
1. Storage of neutral fat (triglycerides)
2. Energy reservation, thermal insulation
3. Body shape, subcutaneous connective tissue
4. Shock absorbers, pads on palms & soles
2. Color; white to dark yellow
3. Reticular fiber network around each cells
4. Tissue metabolically active, continously renewed
5. Highly vascular, not apparent
6. Distribution density determined by age and sex
7. Lipid sources
1. Fatty acids in chylomicrons
2. Fatty acids in in triglycerides synthesized in the liver
3. Synthesized from glucose in the adipose cell
4. From neutral fats from adiposecyte metabolism
8. Mesenchyme -> Lipoblast -> adipose cells
9. White Fat Tissue
1. single large vacuole filled with triglyceride,
2. signet ring cell,
3. "hairnet"
10. Brown Fat Tissue
1. Polygonal cells, smaller than "signet ring" cells
2. Resembles endocrine gland, closely packed masses of cells
3. hibernating animal(heat generation), new born infant
4. No formation after birth
5. One type not transformed into the other


1. The Matrix semi-solid

2. Fibers Collagen & Elastic
3. Cells, Fibroblasts of perichondrium, Chondroblasts and Chondrocytes
4. Types of Cartilage
a. Hyaline Cartilage
b. Elastic Cartilage
c. Collagenous/Fibrocartilage
5. Characteristics of Cartilage
A. Highly perfected for Support and Protection
B. Only bone has more weight bearing capacity
C. Support for soft tissues
D. Sliding surface for bones
E. Smooth and resilient
F. composition
a. Devoid of blood vessels
1. nutrition by diffusion through the matrix
b. hardness: glucosaminoglycans
c. See hyaline cartilage below
d. Special properties:types of fibers (Collagen, elastic)
6. Embryology
0. Precartilage develops from mesenchyme
1. Cells are packed together due to rapid Mitotic activity
2. Embryonic skeleton
7. Adult
0. Tracheal rings,
1. Costal cartilage
2. Articulating surface of long bones
8. Types of cartilage based on matrix & fiber type
0. Hyaline
1. Elastic
2. Collagenous
General Structure

A. Perichondrium, outer layer of similar to connective tissue proper

1. Outer layer, fibrous layer
2. Layer next to cartilage, chondrogenic (cartilage forming) layer,
contains chrondrobasts
a. Fibroblasts are chondrogenic (apositional growth)
b. Chondrocytes, mature cartilage cells found in lacuna (space in
semi-solid matrix)
c. Chondroblasts, developing Chondrocytes, from fibroblasts of
B. Growth and repair of cartilage
1. Apositional growth,
a. Fibroblasts of the perichondrium differentiate into chondroblasts,
flat cells, rounded ends
b. Chondroblasts secrete cartilagenous matrix and becom "trapped"
in lacunae
2. Interstitial growth by mitosis of mature chondrocytes

Types of cartilage

A. Hyaline Cartilage
1. Matrix "Glassy"
a. Collagen Fibers, (40% of dry
wt)same refractive index. index as
matrix, not seen!
b. Sulfated Proteoglycans protein core
1. with short, unbranched
mucopolysaccharides, "bottle
brush like"
2. chondroiten 4-SO4
3. chondroiten 6-SO4
4. keratin sulfate
c. Hyaluronic acid - long unbranced chains
d. Gucosaminoglycans cross linked with Collagen fibers provides
2. Chondrocyters
a. Chondrocytes synthesize all matrix components
(B in Photo at right)
b. Located in Lacunae (C in Photo at right)
c. Capsule, matrix area around the lacuna (A in
Photo at right)
1. Collagen poor
2. Glucosaminoglycan rich
3. More basophilic
4. PAS+
5. Metachromatic
d. Note: histological preparation causes shrinkage
of chondroctes
B. Elastic Cartilage
1. Yellow
2. Elastic fibers in matrix
3. Higher cell density
4. External ear, epiglottis, a few larynegeal cartilages
5. Orcein elastic stain to "see" fibers (photo, top of page)
6. Degenerates less than Hyaline cartilage
C. Collagenous/Fibrocartilage
1. Coarse Collagen fibers embedded in matrix
2. No perichondrium
3. Lacuna with chondrocytes
4. Seems a mixture of cartilage and fibrous connective tissue