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What Is Connective Tissue?

The Framework and Support Structure for Our Body Tissues and Organs

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Updated May 30, 2014

Definition: Connective tissue is a type of tissue made up of fibers forming a framework and support structure for body tissues and organs. Many rheumatic related conditions are also connective tissue disorders including:

Connective tissue is the material between the cells of the body that gives tissues form and strength. This "cellular glue" is also involved in delivering nutrients to the tissue, and in the special functioning of certain tissues. Connective tissue surrounds many organs. Cartilage, blood and bone are specialized forms of connective tissue.

Connective tissue is made up of dozens of proteins, including:

  • collagens (a fibrous protein building block)
  • proteoglycans (a group of proteins that maintain tissue stiffness)
  • glycoproteins (composed of a protein and a sugar)

The combination of these proteins can vary between tissues.

The most common form of connective tissue is loose connective tissue. There are three main types:

  • collagenous fibers
  • elastic fibers
  • reticular fibers

Another form of connective tissue is fibrous connective tissue which is found in tendons and ligaments.

For An In-Depth Explanation of Connective Tissue:

Connective Tissue (from your About.com Guide to Biology)

Pronunciation: con-neck-tiv tis-shoe

Common Misspellings: conective tissue

Examples: Connective tissue supports and connects structures of the body.

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