Definition: the physical or functional supporting tissue of the animal body, a major constituent of which (in addition to various kinds of cells) is an extracellular matrix of ground substance, protein fibers, and structural glycoproteins; it is derived from the mesenchyme, which in turn is derived mainly from mesoderm; the many kinds of connective tissue may be classified according to cell-matrix proportion (loose vs. dense), arrangement of fibers (regular dense vs. irregular dense), fiber type (collagenous, elastic), embedded cell type (adipose, lymphoid, hemopoietic), degree of differentiation (mesenchymal, mucous), location (subcutaneous, periosteal, perichondrial), appearance (areolar, granulation), or nature of matrix (cartilaginous, osseous, or, in the cases of blood and lymph, liquid).
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