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Connective tissue facts for kids

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Connective Tissue Reticular (40885193805)
Connective Tissue Reticular

Connective tissue is a fibrous tissue. It is one of the four traditional classes of tissues (the others being epithelial, muscle, and nervous tissue).

Connective tissue (CT) is found throughout the body. It has 3 main components; cells, fibres, and extracellular matrix.

Connective tissue makes up a variety of physical structures including, tendons, blood vessels, cartilage, bone, adipose tissue, and lymphatic tissue. CT is classified into three subtypes: embryonic CT, proper CT, and special CT.

Collagen is the main protein of connective tissue in animals and the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% of the total protein content.

Characteristics

Illu connective tissues 2.jpg

Characteristics of CT:

  • Cells are spread through an extracellular fluid.
  • Ground substance - A clear, colorless fluid to fix the body water and the collagen fibers in the intercellular spaces. Ground substance slows the spread of pathogens.
  • Both the ground substance and proteins (fibers) create the matrix for CT.

Types of fibers:

Tissue Components Location
Collagenous fibers Bind bones and other tissues to each other tendon, ligament, skin, cornea, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, gut, and intervertebral disc.
Elastic fibers Allow organs like arteries and lungs to recoil extracellular matrix
Reticular fibers Form a scaffolding for other cells liver, bone marrow, and lymphatic organs

Function

Connective tissue has a wide variety of functions that depend on the types of cells and the different classes of fibers involved.

Loose and dense connective tissue have an important role in providing a way for oxygen and nutrients to get into cells via diffusion, and carbon dioxide and waste substances to diffuse from the cells back into circulation. They also allow organs to resist stretching and tearing forces.

Dense connective tissue is a major component of tendons and ligaments and is even found in highly specialized organs such as the cornea.

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