Fibrous Connective Tissue

a. Fibroblasts. The characteristic cells of FCT are fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are able to form elongated fibers.

b. Matrix. These fibers make up the matrix of FCT.

c. Fibers. The fibers are either white or yellow.

(1) White fibers are made from a protein called collagen. White fibers tend to have a fixed length. White fibers are not very easily stretched.

(2) Yellow fibers are made from a protein called elastin. Yellow fibers are elastic. They can be stretched and then they can snap back (like a rubber band).

d. Types of FCT. The types of FCT are recognized by the arrangement of their fibers. These types include:

(1) Loose areolar FCT. Loose areolar FCT has an open irregular arrangement of its fibers.

AREOLAR = airy

Loose areolar FCT is found widely throughout the body. An example is the superficial fascia (subcutaneous layer). The superficial fascia is the connective tissue which lies beneath the skin. Loose areolar FCT is the filling substance around most organs and tissues of the body.

(2) Dense FCT. The fibers of dense FCT are closely packed and parallel. There are no significant spaces between the fibers. Examples of dense FCT are ligaments and tendons. A ligament is a band of dense FCT that holds the bones together at a joint. A tendon attaches a muscle to a bone.

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