Dense connective tissue

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Dense connective tissue, also called dense fibrous tissue, has collagen fibers as its main matrix element. It is mainly composed of collagent type I. Crowded between the collagen fibers are rows of fibroblasts, fiber-forming cells, that manufacture the fibers. Dense connective tissue forms strong, rope-like structures such as tendons and ligaments. Tendons attach skeletal muscles to bones; ligaments connect bones to bones at joints. Ligaments are more stretchy and contain more elastic fibers than tendons. Dense connective tissue also make up the lower layers of the skin (dermis), where it is arranged in sheets.


It is often divided into "regular" and "irregular":

  • Dense regular connective tissue provides strong connection between different tissues. The collagen fibers in dense regular connective tissue are bundled in a parallel fashion. Tendons, which connect muscle to bone, derive their strength from the regular, longitudinal arrangement of bundles of elastic fibers. Ligaments bind bone to bone and are similar in structure to tendons.
  • Dense irregular connective tissue has fibers that are not arranged in parallel bundles as in dense regular connective tissue. This tissue comprises a large portion of the dermal layer of skin.

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