Atlas of Plant and Animal Histology
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Animal tissues
Connective tissue proper


GELATINOUS

The image is from human umbilical cord.
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Organ: umbilical cord, gelatinous connective tissue.
Species: human (Homo sapiens; mammals).
Technique: 8 µm thick paraffin sections stained with haematoxylin-eosin (on the left), and alcian blue (on the right).

This type of connective tissue contains a high proportion of extracellular matrix, with abundant hyaluronan. Although clearly visible, collagen fibers occupy little space. Gelatinous connective tissue has scarce and scattered cells, which are mainly fibroblasts. They have cellular expansions that contact other nearby cells. Although gelatinous and mesenchymal connective tissues show similar morphological features, gelatinous is a differentiated connective tissue. The huge amount of hyaluronan allows a strong hydration capable of withstand strong mechanical loads.

Gelatinous tissue is abundant during the embryonic period but is rare in adults. It is the main component of the umbilical cord, where it is organized in a spiral twisted structure known as Wharton's jelly. It is also found in some places like the chorionic plate of the placenta and around the fetal capillaries, and in some regions of non-mammal species, like the crest of birds.

Updated: 2016-03-31. 10:02