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Dense Regular Connective Tissue: Location & Function

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  • 0:00 What Are Dense…
  • 1:35 What is it Made Of?
  • 4:21 Functions and Locations
  • 4:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Phenix
In this lesson, you'll explore what dense regular connective tissue is, what elements compose the structure of this tissue, where it is found in the body, as well as what unique functions this tissue serves within your body.

What Are Dense Connective Tissues?

Connective tissues aren't, as the name suggests, merely just tissues that connect tissues or organs to one another; they are also responsible for anchoring, separating, and encasing other tissues and organs within the body. Within the category of connective tissue there are six types:

  1. Loose (which are 'loosely' packed tissues that appear to have spaces)
  2. Blood
  3. Bone
  4. Cartilage
  5. Adipose (also known as fat)
  6. Fibrous connective tissues

Here, we are going to explore one of the fibrous types known as dense regular connective tissue. Dense regular connective tissue is an extremely important type of connective tissue that provides the structures that they bind and/or encase a great deal of protection because they are strong yet flexible. They can resist extreme pulling and stretching forces along the length of their fibers while still remaining highly pliable and flexible. You're probably most familiar with dense regular connective tissue in the form of your tendons (tissue that connects muscle to bone) and ligaments (tissue that connects bone to bone).

Now, you may think that it's your muscles alone that make you strong but it's not. Your strength is actually the product of your muscles along with the dense regular connective tissue of your tendons. These tendons securely attach your muscles to your bones. Without your tendons, your muscles would easily detach when you moved or flexed because muscles, while being strong fibers, aren't particularly great attachment tissues.

What Is It Made of?

Dense regular connective tissue is composed of three main components: fiber producing cells, fibers, and an extracellular fluid matrix.

Cells

Fibroblast cells are fiber-producing cells whose role it is to repair and produce the collagen and elastin fibers of the tissue. They appear as having long flat nuclei because they are literally squished between the many layers of densely packed fibers.

Fibers

Collagen fibers are one of two types of fibers that compose the majority of the tissue. Collagen fibers are very thick wide fibers that provide the tissue with a high degree of stretch (due to the undulating pattern of fibers that can stretch straight) and a very high level of tensile strength, meaning that they can resist tearing when the fibers are pulled on length-wise. It's actually these fibers that give this connective tissue its name; collagen fibers are densely packed and arranged in a parallel, undulating, regular pattern - hence, dense regular connective tissue.

Elastin fibers are the other type of fiber found in dense regular connective tissue. They are much thinner than collagen fibers, and they allow a higher degree of stretch than collagen alone. Elastin fibers work like elastic bands. The tissue can actually be stretched to 150% of its original length and still bounce back to its original shape, just like a rubber band.

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