Online College Courses for Credit

Connective Tissue Proper: Areolar & Reticular CT

Connective Tissue Proper: Areolar & Reticular CT

Author: Aaron Mullally

- know where you find areolar CT within the body

- know where you find reticular CT within the body

- know which cells are responsible for manufacturing the fibers of areolar CT

- know what the fiber types are that you find within areolar and reticular CT

- know that areolar and reticular CT are the most widely spaced and unorganized forms of CT

- know what kinds of cells populate reticular CT

- know the function of areolar CT

In this packet you will learn about the location and functions of reticular and areolar connective tissue.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

47 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

299 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 33 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Areolar and Reticular CT Summary

Areolar connective tissue (CT) is the most unorganized and common form of CT within the human body. It is found underneath the basement membranes of epithelial tissues, between muscle cells, etc. I mentioned in the last packet (cells and functions of CT) that areolar CT is like the glue of the body. Think of the last time you ate chicken. When you use your fork or hands to pry the meat apart or from the bone you hear a peeling sound as you do so. That peeling sound is you breaking apart the glue (areolar CT) between the muscle cells of the meat. Or when you peel the skin off of the chicken you are also breaking apart the areolar CT.

Areolar CT is primarily composed of fibroblasts and a mix of collagen, elastin, and reticular fibers (depending on the location). Since this tissue is composed of only cells and fibers in a loose arrengement there is a lot of space to work with. Blood vessels, nerves and glands can for networks within areolar CT. This is an especially important feature to have when you find this directly under the basement membrane of epithelial CT. Remember that epithelial cells are tightly packed and have no direct blood supply so they must rely on blood from down below the basement membrane.

Reticular CT is found in the skin and forms the frameork of lymphatic organs. Reticular CT is composed of short, branched collagen fibers that allow for lots of space. Being that the majority of reticular CT is found within lmphatic organs it is heavily populated by leukocytes (white blood cells). The organs that this particular tissue forms the framework for are: spleen, tonsils, patches, thymus, bone marrow

Source: The mind of Aaron

Areolar & Reticular Connective Tissue

This video shows you some images with explanation of areolar and reticular CT

Source: Self made with images from Marieb &

Areolar & Reticular CT Images

- on the areolar slide you can see the loose arrangement of the fibers with no real form of organization
- the dark black circles on the areolar image are the nuclei of fibroblasts
- notice the short, thick, branched collagen fibers (in black) of reticular CT
-notice the cells that populate reticular CT (leukocytes)