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Connective Tissue

The connective tissue binds together the various tissues in an organ to support different parts of the body and form packaging around different organs. In the early embryonic development, the mesoderm fills the space between ectoderm and endoderm. Some of the mesodermal cells becomes densely packed and form skeletal and muscular tissue. Some cells are loosely packed and lay the foundation of areolar and connective tissue proper. Except muscular tissue, all other tissues derived from mesoderm are grouped under “connective tissue”

Hertwig in 1883 coined the word 'Mesenchyma' for the mesodermal bulk between ectoderm and endoderm.

Connective tissue constitutes about 30% of the body by mass.

Connective tissue has both cellular and extracellular components. Former plays a role of active defence and latter serves a number of mechanical functions of support and protection against mechanical stress and strain.

Connective Tissue Features:

(1) Intercellular matrix is homogenous semi-fluid or gel-like ground substance. It is mainly composed of hyaluronic acid.

(2) Tissue fluid remains trapped between the molecules of hyaluronic acid.

(3) Cells of different types are scattered loosely in matrix.

(4) Collagenous, reticular and elastic fibres are found.

(5) Fibres and matrix are secreted by the cells.

(6) Greater part of connective tissue develops from mesoderm.

Connective Tissue Classification: Three broad categories are:

1. Connective tissue proper

2. Skeletal tissue

3. Fluid tissue