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Fibrous Connective Tissue: Function & Types

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  • 0:01 Connective Tissue
  • 0:36 Fibrous Connective Tissue
  • 1:27 Ligaments
  • 2:02 Tendons
  • 2:47 Fasciae
  • 3:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Enzor

Laura has a Master's degree in Biology and is working on her PhD in Biology. She specializes in teaching Human Physiology at USC.

In this lesson, you'll learn about a specific type of connective tissue called fibrous connective tissue. You'll also discover the other specialized fibrous connective tissues: tendons, ligaments and fasciae.

Connective Tissue

Have you ever wondered how our organs and bones don't get damaged with all the running and jumping we do? The answer is connective tissue. Connective tissue is one of the four main tissue types; the others are epithelial tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue. Connective tissue includes tissues such as cartilage, bone, blood and fat. In this lesson, we'll be specifically looking at fibrous connective tissue. The primary purpose of connective tissue is to hold our organs and other tissues together, as well as provide support for our body as a whole.

Fibrous Connective Tissue

One of the specific types of connective tissue is fibrous connective tissue, or FCT. This high-strength, slightly stretchy tissue consists mainly of collagen, a protein which is known for providing strength and stability. We find collagen just about everywhere that provides support for our body - our muscles, bones and skin are great examples. The two other main components of FCT are water and polysaccharides, which are complex strands of carbohydrates, which also provide support. The primary purpose of fibrous connective tissue is to provide support and shock absorption to our bones and organs. The slide below is a histological section of fibrous connective tissue. The pink fibers you see running through the tissue are the collagen fibers.

Slide of connective tissue
histological slide of collagen

Ligaments

Ligaments connect bone to bone and can be found in places such as the knee.
Leg Ligament Examples

There are three types of specialized fibrous tissue in our body which serve a specific purpose. The first is ligaments. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones. Have you ever heard of someone damaging their ACL? ACL stands for the anterior cruciate ligament. The ACL combines with the posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL, as well as the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL) to connect your femur to the tibia and fibula. Without these ligaments, you wouldn't have a knee!

Tendons

Tendons, like the ones found in the shoulder, connect muscles to bones.
Shoulder Tendon Diagram

The second type of specialized FCT is tendons, which are also called sinew. Tendons connect muscle to bone. Tendons and muscle work together in our bodies. The Achilles tendon is what connects your calf muscle, or gastrocnemius, to the bones in your foot and helps us be able to walk. There are several tendons in our shoulder that help create our rotator cuff, which allows us to rotate our arms. Just like we can 'pull' a muscle, we can damage the tendons in our body. Tendonitis refers to an inflamed tendon, which can be quite painful. In extreme injuries, tendons can even tear - have you ever heard of someone tearing their rotator cuff? Ouch!

Fasciae

Fasciae in your back allows all the muscles to work together.
Back Fasciae

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