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This chapter should help the student to:

  • List the features of connective tissue that distinguish it from other basic tissues.

  • Know the biochemical composition and sites of synthesis of the extracellular matrix components and how they associate with one another.

  • Know the structure and function of the cell types found in connective tissue.

  • Compare connective tissue types in terms of the types, amounts, and arrangement of their components.

  • Relate the composition of each connective tissue type to its specific functions.

  • Name body sites where each connective tissue type occurs and relate the location of each type to its function.

  • Recognize connective tissue cells and tissue types in micrographs and predict their functions.

  • Predict the functional consequences of a given structural defect in a connective tissue.


  1. List the three major classes of connective tissue components (I.C1).

  2. List the general functions of connective tissues (I.A; IV.A).

  3. Name the germ layer(s) from which connective tissue cells derive and the embryonic tissues containing undifferentiated connective tissue cells (I.E; II.E.1.a; III.D).

  4. List the two major classes of macromolecules that constitute ground substance (II.D).

  5. List the glycosaminoglycans commonly found in ground substance (II.D.1).

  6. Name the structural glycoproteins of connective tissue ground substance and describe their functions (II.D.2).

  7. Give some common causes of edema and describe their effects on the pressures acting on water in capillaries (IV.B).

  8. Name the three main connective tissue fiber types (II.A–C) and compare their:

    1. Protein composition (II.A.1.a, B, and C)

    2. Protein subunit arrangement (II.A.1.a, B, and C)

    3. Distinctive amino acids (II.A.1.a, B, C.1.a and b)

    4. Relative degree of glycosylation (II.B)

    5. Arrangement and appearance (II.A, B, C.1.b and 2)

    6. Diameter (II.A–C)

    7. Physical properties and function (II.A.2 and 4, B and C.3)

    8. Staining properties (II.A.3, B and C.2)

    9. Location (II.A.5, B, and C.4)

  9. Name the major collagen types (II.A.2) and compare them in terms of:

    1. Protein composition

    2. Tendency to form fibers or fibrils

    3. Tissue distribution

    4. The cell responsible for their synthesis

  10. Describe collagen synthesis and assembly, indicating the intracellular or extracellular location for each step (II.A.1.a and b; Fig. 5–1).

  11. Compare procollagen and tropocollagen in terms of structure and location (II.A.1.b).

  12. Describe the roles of these enzymes in fiber synthesis, assembly, and turnover:

    1. Collagenase (IV.E)

    2. Elastase (II.C.1.b)

    3. Signal peptidase (2.III.C.1.b)

    4. Lysyl oxidase (II.A.1.b and C.1.b)

    5. Procollagen peptidase (II.A.1.b)

    6. Proline hydroxylase (II.A.1.a)

  13. List the cell types found in connective tissues and indicate which type is most common (II.E).

  14. Compare fibroblasts and fibrocytes (II.E.1.b) in terms of shape, nuclear morphology, and activity (mitotic and synthetic).

  15. From which circulating blood cell type are macrophages derived (II.E.2.b)?

  16. Name the organelles that are abundant in macrophages and indicate their major function (II.E.2.b).

  17. Describe mast cells (II.E.2.a) in terms of:

    1. Shape and size

    2. Staining properties

    3. Granule contents

    4. Cause of degranulation

    5. Effects of degranulation

    6. Role in allergic reactions

  18. Describe plasma cells (II.E.2.c) in terms of:

    1. Shape

    2. Staining properties

    3. Nuclear morphology and location

    4. Major cytoplasmic organelles

    5. Major secretory product

    6. Role in immunity


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