What Are the Properties of Connective Tissues?

by Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

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    00:01 Well, it is important to, first of all, start off by looking at the properties of connective tissue and these properties are varied. As I mentioned, connective tissue consists of cells, matrix and fibres, and various connective tissues have various proportions of these three components.

    00:26 One usually dominates and dictates the function of that connective tissue. When you think about epithelia, epithelia is supported by a basement membrane and underlying connective tissue.

    00:39 We call that underlying connective tissue, the lamina propria, and that lamina propria is dominated by cells. Sure, there are some connective tissue fibres there, collagen fibres to support the epithelium. But remember epithelium forms the surface of body cavities.

    01:02 Body cavity such as the respiratory system, the digestive system, parts of the urogenital system and also the skin. So epithelia is a perfect place for pathogens to try and access the body. So it makes sense that lamina propria is dominated by cells that can identify pathogens and then alert the body about the presence of those pathogens and then commence an Immuno-response.

    01:33 In contrast to lamina propria, bone is very hard, and that is because the matrix component dominates. The matrix is calcified, makes it hard and that is perfect for what bones need to be. They are the framework of our body, the support of all our body organs and they form limbs and enable us to move. A tendon imparts the force of muscle contraction onto a bone.

    02:03 So in tendons, the fibres dominate. The collagen fibres as we will see during this lecture are arranged in parallel sequence. So they can impart the force of contraction directly to the bone and be very effective in doing that. So, connective tissue is very different to epithelium. When you look at this image of connective tissue, you find that, first of all, the cells are isolated. They are separated apart. They are surrounded by the clear stain part you see there, which is ground substance or matrix.

    02:43 Unfortunately, in normal H&E sections, you don't see the real components of that matrix. It just appears as a clear space because a lot of the components are lost during processing. But those cells are very isolated from each other. Running through the connective tissue, there are always going to be fibres of some sort, most likely collagen in most parts of the body. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. And of course as I mentioned earlier, connective tissue is the pathway in which blood vessels reach their destination and also where nerves reach their destination.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture What Are the Properties of Connective Tissues? by Geoffrey Meyer, PhD is from the course Connective Tissue.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. ...constituents that are mostly extracellular.
    2. or scant collagen.
    3. ...cells that are attached tightly to each other.
    4. ...having physiologic/biochemical properties that are more important than physical properties.
    1. Collagen fibers
    2. Matrix
    3. Epithelial cells
    4. Basement membrane
    5. Myosin
    1. Amino acids
    2. Lipids
    3. Disaccharides
    4. Monosaccharides

    Author of lecture What Are the Properties of Connective Tissues?

     Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

    Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

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