General connective tissues


Connective tissues

Connective tissue is one of the four basic tissue types. It fills spaces between organs and tissues, and provides them with structural and metabolic support. Connective tissue comprises three components, namely cells, fibers and amorphous ground substance.
General connective tissue Soft connective tissue Mesenchyme
Gelatinous connective tissue
Loose connective tissue
Adipose tissue
Reticular connective tissue
Dense connective tissue Irregular dense connective tissue
Regular connective tissue
Special connective tissue Cartilage
Haematopoietic tissue

You should be able to:

  • Describe the basement membrane and its components.
  • Explain the general structure and functions of connective tissues and its components.
  • Identify and distinguish between the types of connective tissue.
  • Explain the components (cells, fibers and ground substance) of connective tissue.
  • Identify the main fibers (collagen, elastic, reticular) and cells of connective tissues and properties and functions of each.
  • Explain the distribution of collagen types (Types I, II, III and IV) in the connective tissue types.
  • Distinguish the relative differences in the amount of connective tissue components in various connective tissues types.
  • Identify the three types of proper connective tissue, namely loose connective tissue, irregular dense connective tissue and regular dense connective tissue.
Connective tissue comprises a number of components. Study each example of connective tissue according to the following scheme:
  • Types of cells present
  • Extracellular fibers
  • Types present
  • Arrangement e.g. parallel, irregular, loose, dense, etc.
  • Appearance of the amorphous ground substance e.g. colourless
Also take note of the following:
  • The staining reaction of the amorphous ground substance, cells and fibers.
  • The relative ratio of the three components to one another.
  • The relative ratio of the different cells to one another.
  • The relative ratio of the different types of fibers.
  • The distribution of the cells in relation to the fibers.

Slides for this week

For each slide, complete the work as listed below. Completing the whole slide will assist you in understanding and retention. For each slide, allocate an A3 spread in your workbook. Remember to add the slide and its page number to the index in the front of the book.


  1. Summarise the main similarities and differences between different types of connective tissue.
  2. Name the 5 main classes of support cells.
  3. Name the 5 major components of the basement membrane.
  4. Name the 3 main functions of the basement membrane.
  5. Make a table for each type of general and special connective tissue, describing and comparing each of the three components

© julie 2020 marius loots