Reticular connective tissue
is a type of connective tissue
"Connective tissue" is a fibrous tissue. It is one of the four traditional classes of tissues . Connective Tissue is found throughout the body.In fact the whole framework of the skeleton and the different specialized connective tissues from the crown of the head to the toes determine the form of...
. It has a network of reticular fiber
Reticular fibers or reticulin is a histological term used to describe a type of fiber in connective tissue composed of type III collagen. Reticular fibers crosslink to form a fine meshwork...
s, made of type III collagen. Reticular fibers are not unique to reticular connective tissue, but only in this type are they dominant.
Reticular fibers are synthesized by special fibroblasts called reticular cells. The fibers are thin branching structures.
Reticular connective tissue is found around the liver, the kidney, the spleen, and lymph nodes, as well as in bone marrow.
The fibers form a soft skeleton (stroma
In animal tissue, stroma refers to the connective, supportive framework of a biological cell, tissue, or organ.The stroma in animal tissue is contrasted with the parenchyma.Examples include:* Stroma of iris...
) to support the lymphoid organs (lymph nodes, red bone marrow, and spleen
The spleen is an organ found in virtually all vertebrate animals with important roles in regard to red blood cells and the immune system. In humans, it is located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen. It removes old red blood cells and holds a reserve of blood in case of hemorrhagic shock...
In histology, adipose tissue or body fat or fat depot or just fat is loose connective tissue composed of adipocytes. It is technically composed of roughly only 80% fat; fat in its solitary state exists in the liver and muscles. Adipose tissue is derived from lipoblasts...
is held together by reticular fibers.
They can be identified in histology
Histology is the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues of plants and animals. It is performed by examining cells and tissues commonly by sectioning and staining; followed by examination under a light microscope or electron microscope...
by staining with a heavy metal like silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...
or the PAS stain that stains carbohydrates.
Reticular connective tissue resembles areolar connective tissue, but the only fibers in its matrix are reticular fibers, which form a delicate network along which fibroblasts called reticular cells lie scattered. Although reticular fibers are widely distributed in the body, reticular tissue is limited to certain sites. It forms a labyrinth-like stroma (literally, "bed or "mattress"), or internal framework, that can support many free blood cells (large lymphocytes) in lymph nodes, the spleen, and red bone marrow.
There are more than 20 types of reticular fibres. In Reticular Connective Tissue type III collagen/reticular fiber (100-150 nm in diameter) is the major fiber component. It forms the architectural framework of; liver, adipose tissue, bone marrow, spleen, basement membrane to name a few
- "Connective tissue, reticular (LM, Medium)"