Chapter 3: Connective Tissue
Fibrous connective tissue can be organized into four forms. The organization of the connective tissue depends on the physical characteristics of tissue. Loose irregular connective tissue is composed of haphazardly arranged loosely compacted collagen bundles. Dense irregular connective tissue is composed of haphazardly arranged densely packed collagen bundles. Both these types of arrangements are seen in tissues that require the tensile resistance of forces in many different directions. The dermis of the integumentary system is a good example of this but it can be seen in many different locations throughout the body. Dense regular connective tissue is composed of tightly bundled collagen fibers running in one direction. This type of connective tissue provides excellent tensile strength in one direction. Tendons and ligaments are composed of dense regular connective tissue and are critical in maintaining musculoskeletal structure under the repeated strain of movement. The fourth arrangement of connective tissue is known as embryonic connective tissue and, as the name suggests, is only located in embryonic tissue. This is a very fragile connective tissue composed of thin strands of collagen fibers that contains a large amount of interstitial water content. The fibroblasts in this type of connective tissue frequently has a stellate appearance, meaning that instead of a spindle shape with two pointed ends, the cells may have three pointed projections of cell membrane.