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Loose connective tissue

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Understand the structure and cellular components of connective tissue.
  2. Describe and identify loose connective tissue in histological slides.

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Connective tissue is characterized by the fact that the cells do not lie close together but are separated from each other by an interstitial space. This interstitial space between cells is filled by extracellular matrix, which consists of fibers and a ground substance of proteins. The main cells of connective tissue are fibroblasts, which secrete proteins that maintain the extracellular matrix.

Loose connective tissue
is the most common type of connective tissue. It is composed of fibroblasts and collagen fibers, specifically elastic and reticular fibers. In every epithelial organ it has protective, filling and stabilizing functions. In loose connective tissue, the ground substance occupies a high volume in comparison to the abovementioned fibers. These elastic and reticular fibers are distributed randomly and criss cross in all directions.

Watch the following video to learn more about the structure and cellular components of loose connective tissue:

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