General Characteristics

Connective tissues (ko-nekctiv tish'uz) comprise much of the body and are the most abundant type of tissue by weight. They bind structures, provide support and protection, serve as frameworks, fill spaces, store fat, produce blood cells, protect against infections, and help repair tissue damage.

Connective tissue cells are not adjacent to each other as epithelial cells are, and they have an abundance of intercellular material, or matrix, between them. This matrix consists of fibers and a ground substance whose consistency varies from fluid to semisolid to solid. The ground substance binds, supports, and provides a medium through which substances may be transferred between the blood and cells within the tissue.

Connective tissue cells can usually divide. These tissues have varying degrees of vascularity, but in most cases, they have good blood supplies and are well nourished. Some connective tissues, such as bone and cartilage, are quite rigid. Loose connective tissue (areolar), adipose tissue, and dense connective tissue are more flexible.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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