Cells of the connective tissue are suspended in a non-cellular matrix that provides structural and biochemical support to the surrounding cells.
Connective tissue (CT) is a one of the four main classes of tissues. Although it is the most abundant and widely distributed of the primary tissues, the amount of connective tissue in a particular organ varies. Like to the timber framing of a house, the connective tissue provides structure and support throughout the body.
Structure of Connective Tissue
Connective tissue has three main components:
Together the ground substance and fibers make up the extracellular matrix. The composition of these three elements vary tremendously from one organ to the other. This offers great diversity in the types of connective tissue.
Ground substance is a clear, colorless, viscous fluid that fills the space between the cells and fibers. It is composed of proteoglycans and cell adhesion proteins that allow the connective tissue to act as glue for the cells to attach to the matrix. The ground substance functions as a molecular sieve for substances to travel between blood capillaries and cells.
Connective tissue fibers provide support. Three types of fibers are found in connective tissue: