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Connective Tissue: Its Components and its Types

You know that the complex body of a multicellular organism like a human being is composed of various structures and are connected to one another. This is required for the perfect coordination and functioning of the body. 

How is this done? Is there any special tissue which helps in this process?

In a multicellular organism, such as a human being, the tissue connecting different parts of the body is termed as the connective tissue. Its function is similar to that of cement that helps to connect bricks in a building.

cement

Let’s take a deep dive into the details of connective tissue. 

Table of contents

Connective tissue

It is the most abundant tissue which is distributed widely in the complex animal. The primary function of connective tissue is to link and support other tissues and organs of the body. They are of different types.

connective tissue

Components of Connective Tissue

It possesses three components as follows:

  • Ground substance 
  • Connective tissue cells
  • Fibres

Ground Substance 

It is a non-living, amorphous, transparent semi-fluid. It possesses mainly carbohydrates and proteins. The most common mucopolysaccharide present is hyaluronic acid.

Connective Tissue Cells

They are the living components. They are of various types depending on the type of connective tissue. Examples include fibroblasts, adipose cells, plasma cells, mast cells, macrophages, reticular cells, lymphocytes etc. 

Fibres

They are of three types as follows: 

Collagen Fibres 

They are the white fibres which are made up of collagen proteins. They are unbranched and inelastic. They occur in bundles. On boiling they change to elastin protein. 

Elastic Fibres

They are the yellow fibres. They are formed of elastin protein. They are elastic and branched.

Reticular Fibres

They are made up of reticulin proteins. They are branched and inelastic. They are delicate and form reticulum or networks.

Types of Connective Tissue

There are three main types of connective tissues based on the types of cells present and its arrangement. They are as follows:

  • Loose connective tissue
  • Dense connective tissue
  • Specialised connective tissue

Dense Connective Tissue

The fibres and fibroblasts are compactly packed in the matrix of dense connective tissue.

dense connective tissue

Types of Dense Connective Tissue

They are of two types based on the orientation of fibres. These are dense regular tissue and dense irregular tissue.

Dense Regular Tissue

In this tissue the fibres normally show a regular pattern of orientation. Collagen fibres are seen in rows between many parallel bundles of fibres in this tissue. Examples include ligaments and tendons. 

dense regular tissue

Difference Between Tendons and Ligaments

Tendon

Ligament

It is composed of white fibrous tissue which is rich in white collagen fibres

It is composed of yellow elastic tissue which is rich in yellow elastic fibres

It joins skeletal muscle to bone

It joins a bone to another bone

It is tough

It comparatively less tough

It is inelastic in nature

It is elastic in nature

1

Dense Irregular Tissue

The orientation of fibres shows an irregular pattern in this tissue. It possesses fibroblasts and collagen fibres. They are commonly found in skin.

dense irregular tissue

Practice Problems of Connective Tissue

Question 1. In humans, two bones are connected to one another with the help of a tissue called?

a. Ligament
b. Tendon
c. Muscle
d. None of the above

Solution: Ligament is a tissue composed of yellow elastic fibres which joins a bone to another bone. Ligament is elastic in nature due to the presence of elastic fibres. Hence, the correct option is a.

FAQs of Connective Tissue

Question 1. What are the differences between tendons and ligaments?

Answer

Tendon

Ligament

It is composed of white fibrous tissue which is rich in white collagen fibres

It is composed of yellow elastic tissue which is rich in yellow elastic fibres

It joins skeletal muscle to bone

It joins a bone to another bone

It is tough

It comparatively less tough

It is inelastic in nature

It is elastic in nature

Question 2. Name the three types of fibres present in connective tissue?

Answer: Three types of fibres present in connective tissue are as follows:

  • Collagen fibres
  • Elastic fibres
  • Reticular fibres

Question 3. Where can a person find the dense connective tissue?

Answer: The dense connective tissue is commonly found in the skin, tendons and ligaments. In skin, dense irregular connective tissue is present that contains fibroblasts and collagen fibres. Tendons and ligaments are dense regular connective tissue that contain collagen fibres in parallel rows.

Question 4. What is dense connective tissue?

Answer: Dense connective tissue is a type of connective tissue that contains collagen fibres in abundance. The fibres and fibroblasts are compactly packed in dense connective tissue. It is of two types on the basis of orientation of fibres: dense regular tissue and dense irregular tissue.

Question 5. What are the two common examples of dense connective tissue?

Answer: The two common examples of dense connective tissue are tendons and ligaments. Tendons join muscle to bones whereas the ligaments join bone to bone. In both of these, dense regular connective tissue is present.

Question 6. Write down the three main components of connective tissue?

Answer: The three main components of connective tissue are ground substance, connective tissue cells and fibres. These components collectively make a connective tissue. 

Question 7. Identify the given images?

1

Answer: In the given figure, ‘a’ represents dense irregular tissue and ‘b’ represents dense regular tissue. The orientation of dense irregular fibres shows an irregular pattern. It contains fibroblasts and collagen fibres and is commonly found in the skin. On the other hand, the orientation of dense regular fibres shows a regular pattern. It contains collagen fibres and is found in the tendons and ligaments.

Related Topics to Epithelial Tissues in Biology

NCERT Class 11 Biology Chapters

The Living World Biological Classification Plant Kingdom
Animal Kingdom Morphology of Flowering Plants Anatomy of Flowering Plants
Structural Organization in Animals Cells: The Unit of Life Biomolecules
Cell Cycle and Division Transport in Plants Mineral Nutrition
Photosynthesis in Higher Plants Respiration in Plants Plant Growth and Development
Digestion and Absorption Breathing and Exchange of Gases Body Fluids and Circulation
Excretory Products and their Elimination Locomotion and Movement Neural Control and Coordination
Chemical Coordination and Integration
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