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Connective Tissue 2

Learning Objectives
1. Describe in detail the histological features and functions of dense irregular
connective
tissue, dense regular connective tissue and adipose tissue.
2. Describe the histological features and functions of adipose tissue, compare and
contrast the structure and function of white and brown adipose tissue.
3. Briefl describe the structure and function of reticular connective tissue and the
specialised forms of connective tissue including bone and cartilage.
Review-
Connective tissue consists of cells are widely separated with ECM between
the cells, unlike epithelium where the cells are closely packed together
The structure of e!tracellular matri! determines the properties of the particular
connective tissue"
CT provides structural and metabolic support for other tissues, produces part
of the #asement Membrane and acts to compartmentalise other tissues and
organs
$t has an enormous range of functions eg defence, protection, cushioning,
thermoregulation
Dense Connective Tissue
%ow does dense connective tissue differ from loose connective tissue&
The fi!ed cells are mostly inactive fibrocytes rather than fibroblasts
$n general e!pect more ECM and less cellular than 'CT Cells are mainly
fibrocytes not many wandering cells this reflects the different function of (CT
compared to 'CT
Most of the defining characteristics are in the e!tracellular matri!
The ECM of (CT also contains less ground substance and more fibres )ith
%*E staining the ECM appears pale pink in (CT rather than the washed out
appearance commonly seen in 'CT
+ibres are usually arranged in bundles rather than individual fibres which also
helps with visibility down the microscope
,ne fibre type may predominate depending on function (CT and the fibres
may have a regular -(RCT. or irregular orientation -($CT.
(ense connective tissue has a range of functions that are different to loose
connective tissue,
$t/s main function is strength -multidirectional or unidirectional.
Dense Irregular Connective Tissue
(ense irregular connective tissue is characterised by collagen in bundles,
arranged in many different directions, as seen in the reticular layer of the
dermis and submucosa of the digestive tract
The primary function of dense irregular connective tissue is to provide the
tissue with the ability to withstand forces from many different directions
There is very little ground substance and the fibrocytes are scattered amongst
the bundles of collagen
Dense Regular Connective Tissue
(ense regular connective tissue is characterised by collagen bundles
arranged in parallel and is found in tendons, ligaments and aponeuroses
This provides the tissue with the ability to withstand and transmit great forces
in one direction -parallel to the orientation of the fibres.
+ibrocytes tend to be greatly elongated and orientated parallel to the bundles
of collagen fibres 0ery little ground substance e!ists
Dense elastic connective tissue
Elastin, the protein that makes up elastic fibres, has the natural ability to be
stretched greatly and return to its original shape without re1uiring any energy
-much like a rubber band.
This is an important feature for our bodies, particularly in the respiratory and
cardiovascular systems
Elastin is also an important component of the dermis of the skin and it is
broken down over time -which is also accelerated by prolonged e!posure to
20 light., reducing the ability of the skin to maintain its shape, producing
wrinkles
'arge arteries -eg aorta, subclavian a. contain elastic fibres which have
aggregated into sheets of elastic tissue called elastic lamina This is a highly
specialised form of dense elastic connective tissue The aorta for instance
may have 34 - 54 of these concentric elastic lamina in its wall
(on67t forget that there would still be collagen fibres and bundles associated
with the elastic lamina
Adipose tissue
8dipose tissue is classified as white or brown
)hite adipose tissue -or unilocular adipose tissue. is a highly specialised form
of loose connective tissue $t consists of cells -adipocytes. that are tightly
packed together
8dipocytes are characterised by the large lipid droplet that seems to fill the
cytoplasm The nucleus and cytoplasm are pushed to the e!tremities of the
cell by the lipid droplet
8dipose tissue is often found in areas of loose and dense irregular connective
tissue
The hypodermis contains large amounts of white adipose tissue
The main form of fat-storage in adults, acts as a support tissue -eg supports
the kidneys, orbit of eye. or as a shock absorber -eg %ypodermis 60 acts as a
shock absorption in the soles of feet, buttocks. or as an energy source
-secretes proteins that regulate metabolism - eg 'eptin.
$t has a capillary network and is innervated by the 8utonomic 9ervous :ystem
2nder the microscope the lipid is often washed away with %*E ;ockets of
adipose tissue surrounding the ureter
#rown adipose tissue < #8T
Multilocular adipose tissue, contains numerous small lipid droplets, numerous
mitochondria -eosinophilic., metabolises fat to produce heat
%ighly vascular and innervated by the 89: +ound in neonates and may be
present in adult at selected sites, although this is controversial
:een in animals that hibernate- important in warming post hibernation
-probably not relevant to med students.
Reticular CT
Most CT contains reticular fibres -type $$$ collagen. )hen reticular fibres are
dominant it is called reticular connective tissue
+orms an open mesh-work of fine fibres to support cells of some organs, eg
liver, spleen, lymph nodes, need a special stain to visualise, eg silver
Special Connective Tissue: Cartilage
$s cartilage a type of connective tissue& =es, why&
> $t has a supporting and protective role as part of the skeletal system
2 Cells are widely spaced and separated by e!tracellular matri! -ground
substance and fibres.
? Embryological origin from mesenchyme
!artilage "erminolog
!ells@ chondroblasts and chondrocytes -instead of fibroblastsAcytes.
Lacuna# The space within which sit the chondroblasts and chondrocytes
$atri%# The e!tracellular matri! of cartilage
&erichondrium# The connective tissue covering of cartilage
Three types of cartilage@ %yaline cartilage, Elastic cartilage and +ibrocartilage
Special Connective Tissue: Bone
#one is a form of connective tissue because it has cells -osteoblasts and
osteocytes. embedded in an e!tracellular matri! secreted by the cells
The maBor difference is that the ECM has become mineralised with calcium
salts
There are two forms of bone, compact bone and cancellous -trabeculae or
spongy bone.
Special connective tissue blood
!ells - R#C, )#C
'!$# plasma -no fibres.
Cuestion
Compare and contrast dense irregular connective tissue and loose connective tissue
$nclude in your answer histological features -'M. and locations where these tissues
may be found $nclude a diagram
Consider the terms compare and contrast, how are these tissues similar and how are
they different, start with a statement on why they are similar, they might have a
similar structure or function or Bust have a similar appearance down the microscope
Then move onto the differences Marks allocated to a diagram so include one or miss
out on marks $f you use a table - make sure you use rows as well as columns