Areolar connective tissue
This image represents a whole mount (NOT a section) of mesentery (the tissue which binds together the loops of intestine within the peritoneal cavity.
This view looks through the entire mesentery, which is a sandwich of mesothelium on front and back surfaces with loose connective tissue and blood vessels in between.
The two most common cell types are mesothelial cells and fibroblasts.
The large, pale, oval nuclei belong to mesothelial cells which form the mesothelial surfaces on the front and back of the mesentery.
The smaller, darker, more elongate nuclei belong to fibroblasts, which manufacture and secrete the molecules which form the extracellular matrix.
Macrophages, mast cells, and lymphocytes may also be found in such preparations, but none are clearly identifiable in this image.
The matrix consists of unstained ground substance through which pass fibers of made of collagen and elastin.
Elastic fibers are thin, fairly uniform in diameter, and frequently branched. The are normally visible only if specially stained (as they have been in this specimen).
Collagen fibers vary in thickness and are eosinophilic (pink, in this stain).
A conspicuous blood vessel passes across the field of view. Nuclei of vascular endothelial cells lie alongside the vessel, which contains many red blood cells.
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Last updated: 11 December 2007 / dgk