Difference between Loose and Dense Connective Tissue

The human body has four basic tissue types namely epithelial tissues, connective tissues, muscle tissues and nervous tissues. Among these tissues, the connective tissues are extremely important. Loose and dense connective tissues are further types of connective tissues.

The dense connective tissues are then classified into two groups known as dense irregular connective tissue and dense regular connective tissue. Since the loose and dense connective tissues are part of the connective tissue, people get confused regarding the main differences between them.

The main distinction between the two is the fact that in dense irregular connective tissues the fibres are arranged without any specific direction, whereas, in dense regular connective tissues the fibres are arranged in one direction clearly parallel to each other. The comparison between the two is required to understand their importance and functions in human anatomy.


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    Loose Connective Tissue

    Definition: This is the most common type of loose connective tissues in vertebrates which include areolar tissue, reticular tissue and adipose tissue.

    - This tissue gets its name from the loose arrangement of fibres. This tissue type is found under the epithelial that lines the internal surface of the body.
    - The loose connective tissues have more vessels.
    - Fibres are loosely arranged in the loose connective tissues. Meanwhile, large portions of cells and ground substance can also be found in the loose connective tissues.
    - Fibroblasts are the major cell type found in the loose connective tissues, which generate and maintain the ground substance and fibres. These cells are spindle shaped and are scattered in the matrix.
    - Fibres are not abundant in loose connective tissues.

    Image Courtesy: med.yale.edub

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    Dense Connective Tissue

    Definition: This tissue is mainly made up of collagen type I and is also known as dense fibrous tissue.

    - Fibres are densely arranged and are in abundance in this type of tissue. Dense connective tissues are found in areas where strength is generally required. The dense connective tissues exist on the exterior of many organs like tendons etc.
    - Unlike loose connective tissues, the dense connective tissues do not have many vessels.
    - In dense connective tissues, the fibres are abundant.
    - The arrangement of fibres in one direction gives this tissue the ability to be where strength is required with the force being applied in one direction.

    Image Courtesy: kentsimmons.uwinnipeg.ca

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