Dense connective tissue has the same makeup as loose connective tissue except there is less space occupied by cells, and more densely packed with fibers.
What’s Inside Connective Tissue
Connective tissues contains a matrix and 3 types of fibers fibers.
- Matrix: Also known as the ground substance. Matrix is produced by the cells of the tissue and can be fluid, gel-like, or solid
- Collagenous fibers: Collagenous fibers provide strength. They are made of collagen and consist of bundles of fibrils.
- Elastic fibers: Elastic fibers make tissue “stretchable” and are made of elastin.
- Reticular fibers: Reticular fibers join connective tissues to other tissues. Reticular fibers consist of one or more types of very thin collagen fibers.
These three types of fibers are combined in different levels to produced connective tissue with different properties. For example, if a tissue has more elastin it will be stretchy. If the tissue has more collagenous fibers it will be sturdy and strong.
Types of Dense Connective Tissue
There are 2 types of dense connective tissue: Dense Regular and Dense Irregular Connective Tissue.
Appearance: Fibers are “regular” in the sense that they all run parallel to each other or in the same direction.
Location: Tendons, Ligaments, Aponeurosis (similar to tendons)
Function: Their main function is to support other tissues, but mainly in one direction because the fibers all run in one direction.
Appearance: Fibers are “irregular” in the sense that they run in multiple directions.
Location: Dermis, fibrous capsules, fascia (periosteum and pericondrium).
Function: Dense irregular tissue functions to support tissues in multiple directions. This is because the fibers run in multiple directions.