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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Histology Special Stains: Connective Tissue. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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What is Connective Tissue?

Connective tissue is one of four tissue types found in the body. It offers structural and metabolic support structure for organs and tissue. It is the most abundant tissue type in the body and can be found throughout. Cells and extracellular material called connective tissue matrix make up connective tissue.
Fibroblasts, macrophages, adipose cells, blood leukocytes, and plasma cells can all be found within connective tissue. In addition to cells, connective tissue matrix has 3 different fibers present:
  • Reticular fibers (reticulin) - Support soft organs, such as the liver, kidney, spleen and lymph nodes; also support the network around nerve fibers, fats cells, lymph nodes, and muscle fibers.
  • Collagenous fibers - Found in ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bone.
  • Elastic fibers - Allow tissue to expand and are typically located in skin and blood vessel walls.