This image shows connective tissue deep in skin.
A small amount of subcutaneous adipose tissue appears near the center of the image. Fibrous connective tissue of the dermis occupies the remaining regions and includes a conspicuous artery, several small veins, a portion of a sweat gland, and a pair of small peripheral nerves.
The pink color in this image represents eosinophilic material, in this case mostly one of the following:
- Most of the pink material represents extracellular collagen fibers.
- The somewhat deeper pink encircling the artery represents the cytoplasm of smooth muscle cells.
The pale background color represents unstained material, in this case one of the following:.
- Near the center, the open spaces represent the lipid droplets within adipocytes. (Intact adipocytes appear round, with continuous margins. Adipocytes which have been damaged during specimen preparation appear as irregular shapes with broken margins.)
- Elsewhere, the thin interconnected pale spaces between collagen fibers represent connective tissue ground substance.
The very dark purple (nearly black) spots are cell nuclei. At this resolution, they cannot be individually identified except by context.
- Nuclei adjacent to the lumen of a blood vessel belong to vascular endothelial cells.
- Nuclei in the muscular wall of an artery may belong to smooth muscle cells.
- Irregular nuclei scattered at random among collagen fibers belong mostly to fibroblasts. Some may also belong to macrophages, mast cells, or capillary endothelial cells.
- Thin nuclei adjacent to large lipid droplets may belong to adipocytes or to fibroblasts or to capillary endothelium located between the adipocytes.
Bright red within the artery represents many red blood cells.
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Last updated: 23 October 2002 / dgk