connective tissue


The term connective tissue includes various types of tissue. The connective tissue is not only part of the skin but also an essential part of the body's interior and organs.
The connective tissue thus makes a decisive contribution to the functionality of the human body and, in the event of defects, can lead to loss of function or even illnesses.

Structure of the connective tissue

Connective tissue comprises many different tissues in the human body. Connective tissue runs through the entire body. All in all, it covers approx. 20 kg for a normal weight person. The connective tissue consists of cells and a lot of cell-free substance, the so-called matrix. Connective tissue cells are fibrocytes (connective tissue-forming cells), cartilage cells (Chondrocytes), Bone cells (Osteocytes), Fat cells, pigment cells (Melanocytes), as well as all immune cells of humans, i.e. the white blood cells, of which a great many are not only found in the blood system, but also in the connective tissue. The cell-free substance consists of water, proteins and fibers; there are collagen fibers and elastic fibers.
A sufficient vitamin C level is important for the development of collagen fibers. There are four different types of collagen, which occur in different proportions depending on the organ and are essential for the stability of the connective tissue. In addition to collagen fibers, there are also elastic fibers, which, like rubber, are important for the elasticity of some human ligaments. They occur increasingly in the yellow spinal ligaments and thus enable the back to bend and straighten.
The connective tissue is divided into different types of tissue. What all tissue types have in common is that they develop from a common system of the embryo.
Bone and cartilage tissue are considered to be supporting tissue. The adipose tissue with the fat cells (Adipocytes) counts as a separate tissue type. It is not only found in the subcutaneous fatty tissue, but also surrounds all internal organs and fills the bone marrow.
Loose connective tissue can be found under the skin and as a filling substance in many internal organs. Tight connective tissue forms the cornea of ​​the eye, the meninges and all organ capsules.
The tendons, ligaments and intervertebral discs of the spine consist of connective tissue rich in fibers and arranged in parallel. Lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow have reticulated connective tissue. Gelatinous connective tissue is found in the umbilical cord and in the teeth below the hard substance. A particularly cell-rich connective tissue builds up the woman's ovaries. Strictly speaking, even muscles and blood vessels with blood cells belong to the connective tissue.

Illustration of the connective tissue

Figure connective tissue

connective tissue
I - skin with strong
connective tissue
(Firm skin surface)
II - skin with
Connective tissue weakness
(Dents on the
Skin surface)

  1. Skin - Cutis
  2. Strengthened fabric fibers
  3. Normal fat cells -
  4. Deep layers of fat
    (Fat reserve)
  5. muscle
  6. Enlarged fat cells
  7. Weak tissue fibers
    Signs of connective tissue weakness:
    A - cellulite (orange peel) -
    dented skin structure
    B - pregnancy or
    Stretch marks
    C - spider veins
    (a type of mini convulsive vein)
    D - varicose veins
    E - hemorrhoids
    (Rectal varicose veins)
    F - uterine subsidence
    (Lowering the uterus in
    your holding apparatus)

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations

What role does vitamin C play in connective tissue?

In connective tissue there are, on the one hand, many different cells and, on the other hand, a lot of cell-free substance. This is called the matrix and consists of water, proteins, elastic fibers and collagen fibers. Vitamin C is essential for building such collagen fibers. It is an essential coenzyme for preparing the storage of the amino acids lysine and proline in the strand of collagen fibers.
It also binds individual fibers to form connective tissue. When there is a lack of vitamin C, very weak connective tissue is created in the skin, muscles, bones and blood vessels. The insufficient synthesis of connective tissue due to the vitamin C deficiency can lead to bleeding gums, fragility of the vessels and slow wound healing. Furthermore, without the presence of vitamin C, the tissue becomes more permeable to pathogens.

What role does collagen play in connective tissue?

Collagen is the basic structure of connective tissue and is essential for its mechanical stability. In contrast to elastic fibers, collagen fibers are not very stretchable, but can withstand high loads.
Depending on the type of tissue or location, a distinction can be made between four types of collagen. The tensile strength of tendons and ligaments in the body, the pressure resistance of articular cartilage or the flexibility of bones are all due to the presence of collagen in the connective tissue.

What is the function of the connective tissue?

The connective tissue has a wide range of functions due to its structure. On the one hand, it has a defense function through the defense and inflammatory cells contained in the connective tissue. Bone and cartilage tissues are firm connective tissues with a support function.
The connective tissue surrounds the internal organs and leads blood and lymph vessels as well as nerves to them. Thus, on the one hand it has a framework function, on the other hand it is important for the supply of the organs: Due to the high water content, it serves as a water reservoir and enables the connective tissue to migrate nutrients and oxygen to the organs and muscles, as well as carbon dioxide and waste products from the Organs in the draining blood vessels. Last but not least, the fat tissue has an energy storage function, for which the fat tissue is primarily responsible.

How can you strengthen the connective tissue?

The connective tissue is a problematic topic for many people - whether from a cosmetic or medical point of view. Therefore, there is often a desire to strengthen the connective tissue, but how?

Connective tissue is found everywhere in the body, whether around organs or muscles; However, only the skin and possibly veins that appear as varicose veins or spider veins are evident. There are different approaches to strengthen the connective tissue in these areas. In homeopathy, remedies such as Silicea, Acidum hydrofluoricum and Calcium fluoratum are said to strengthen the connective tissue from within. Schüssler salts such as Cuprum arsenicosum also have such an effect. All these agents have a beneficial effect on the connective tissue and have a supportive effect in terms of strengthening the connective tissue. From a conventional medical point of view, strengthening through this alone is rather unlikely. Therefore, at best, they should be used in combination with other approaches.

Furthermore, a healthy and balanced diet can have a positive effect - not only on body weight, but also on the weakness of the connective tissue. Because if you pay attention to your weight in a healthy way, the connective tissue is also relieved by reducing the tensile forces acting on it. In this way, possible stretch marks, which often occur with weak connective tissue (even in slim people), can be prevented.

Learn more about: Stretch marks on the buttocks

Massages with certain oils also have a beneficial effect on strengthening the connective tissue. The tissue is supplied with more blood, which promotes its build-up and breakdown, improves the supply of important nutrients and stimulates cell renewal. This effect can be enhanced with certain massage balls or gloves that have a raised surface. The massage oil also makes the connective tissue more elastic and flexible.

Physical activity is one of the most important ways to strengthen connective tissue. This reduces superfluous fat deposits that stretch the connective tissue. By building muscle in the affected areas, the connective tissue is strengthened and tightened at the same time. In the case of varicose veins in particular, strengthening the muscle wall of the vessels and the surrounding tissue can prevent them from bulging. This happens, among other things, through increased blood flow to the tissue through training. It is up to you which sport you choose, all of which have a positive effect.
It makes sense to target the areas of weak connective tissue with fitness exercises. The best known are abdominal legs and buttocks exercises. But first and foremost, it should be fun so that regularity can be achieved. Because the quality of the connective tissue is given and inherited individually to a certain extent in each individual, one can definitely achieve a visible improvement in the structure of the connective tissue with the means mentioned here. However, a change cannot be expected from the start; all of the above measures require both perseverance and patience.

Read more on this topic at: Strengthen connective tissue

Can you strengthen connective tissue through nutrition?

In addition to health aspects, your own diet can also have an impact on the quality of the connective tissue. So that the body can continue to produce collagen and thus the stabilizing framework of the connective tissue undisturbed, the necessary substances must be ingested through food. These include vitamin C. This is essential for collagen synthesis and should be consumed in sufficient quantities daily through fruits and vegetables. The recommended daily requirement for vitamin C is 100mg.
Furthermore, the amino acid lysine is essential for a stable connective tissue structure.Lysine occurs naturally only in already existing proteins and has to be taken in through food. Lysine is mainly found in dairy products, meat, walnuts, peas and rice. An average amount of 30 - 60 mg lysine per kg body weight is recommended.
Adequate daily fluid intake is also essential in order to achieve stable connective tissue. On average, an adult should consume around 35 ml of fluid per kg of body weight.

Read more on the subject: Strengthen connective tissue through nutrition

How can you tighten the connective tissue?

The connective tissue is very heavily used in the course of life.
This can be noticeable through wrinkles and sagging areas of the skin. The reasons for this are different.

On the one hand, there are strong fluctuations in weight, which can be caused not only by changing eating habits, but also by pregnancy.

Put simply, the existing connective tissue structure is "worn out", which is only reversed to a certain extent. Exercise, which is beneficial for firm connective tissue, can also be a cause. Finally, the natural aging process, in which the quality of tissue renewal decreases, also plays a major role.

There are different approaches to tightening connective tissue, something that is discussed again and again in society and the media. The easiest and most sensible method for the prevention and treatment of slack connective tissue is definitely sport in connection with a healthy lifestyle. Since the connective tissue has a certain potential for regression, you can achieve a lot with this. The shape of the connective tissue can be defined by building up muscles in certain areas of the body such as the buttocks, thighs, arms and stomach. If you do sports regularly and in a targeted manner, a visible effect can be expected after a certain period of time. In addition, firming creams and body oils can be used, all of which are available in the drugstore or pharmacy. These should be applied in circular movements and possibly with massage gloves or similar so that blood circulation and cell renewal are stimulated. However, you shouldn't set your expectations too high here - often too much is promised by the product advertising. The sole use of such products is definitely beneficial and has a preventive effect, especially if the connective tissue still has a certain degree of firmness. The tightening of connective tissue through this, however, has its limits. Nevertheless, it is worth the effort, especially if you also do sports in combination.

The most effective method of tightening connective tissue is cosmetic surgery. In principle, everything is possible here - from eyelid to tummy tuck.
This should definitely be carried out professionally and well thought out.

Because even if you are in otherwise healthy condition and undergo such an operation, it is still an operation under general anesthesia, which carries certain risks and side effects.
In addition, the results depend on the surgeon and cannot always change the appearance to the satisfaction of those affected. Nevertheless, in some cases cosmetic surgery can do a lot more than just tighten the connective tissue, as many of those affected suffer greatly from the problem areas. From a medical point of view, some interventions make perfect sense. It is best to always weigh this together with the surgeon.

Read more on this topic at: Tighten connective tissue

What role does connective tissue play in cellulite?

Cellulite is a non-inflammatory change in connective tissue that occurs only in women. It manifests itself as dents-rich skin that is reminiscent of the surface of an orange.
The reason that it mainly affects women is a difference in the structure of the connective tissue between men and women. The connective tissue of women is more loosely networked than that of men. The connective tissue fibers run perpendicular to the surface. As a result, fat cells can bind together more easily than clusters of cells press against the surface of the skin from within and cause dents in the skin. As a result, fat cells can move more easily.
Furthermore, the genetic predisposition plays a decisive role in the development of cellulite. The hormone estrogen, which men have only very little in contrast to women, ensures a breakdown of the collagen that stabilizes the connective tissue. For this reason, fat cells can spread more easily and promote the development of cellulite.

What can I do if the connective tissue is torn?

Fine cracks in the skin or in the connective tissue are also referred to as stretch marks. The development of the cracks in the connective tissue is highly dependent on the own connective tissue. The cracks are not dangerous to health but are often perceived as annoying by those affected. You cannot completely remove the cracks. However, there are ways to improve the appearance of the small cracks in the skin.
Some sufferers state that they have achieved an improvement by using or massaging in oils. These special oils are available in every drug store.
There is also the possibility of laser therapy. Here you can get advice in specialized practices.

You might also be interested in this topic: Stretch marks on the abdomen

What is connective tissue massage?

A connective tissue massage is one of the so-called reflex zone massages, which in turn are based on the theory of segment therapy. This describes the treatment of a particular area of ​​skin that can be assigned to a specific spinal cord segment. The function of internal organs, which are connected to a skin area via nerve tracts, can also be influenced depending on the associated skin area.
In a connective tissue massage, this is mainly stimulated mechanically with the fingertips. As a rule, this triggers an uncomfortable feeling to a painful feeling.
Furthermore, small bruises may appear on the treated areas in the first few days after the treatment. The connective tissue massage is intended to increase the blood flow and prevent or even dissolve the connective tissue and muscle fascia from sticking together. Connective tissue massage should not be used in pregnancy, heart disease or acute inflammation.

Read more on the subject: Connective tissue massage

Inflammation in the connective tissue

Inflammation is a body reaction that is supposed to enable the immune system to act more actively and to a greater extent in certain areas of the body. Inflammation always occurs in the connective tissue and in the vascular system.
They express themselves through typical symptoms. These include redness, pain, swelling, and warming. Another symptom is often restricted mobility.
The connective tissue is poorly supplied with oxygen at the inflamed area. The reason lies in the fact that oxygen transport to the cells is made more difficult by the swelling. The cells themselves begin to produce energy without oxygen. A by-product of this energy gain is lactic acid, which makes the tissue acidic. Basically, in order to treat inflammation, it is necessary to identify the cause of the inflammation.

Read more on the subject: Inflammation of connective tissue

Connective Tissue Pain - What Not To Be?

The body's own restructuring processes of the connective tissue can be responsible for pain of various kinds. The connective tissue can also contract and cramp like muscles.
If the connective tissue is heavily changed or dense, the muscle below is restricted in its ability to move and pain occurs as a result.

Changes in the connective tissue, which are often associated with pain, can take very long periods of time in a relieving posture, operations, stress, overstretching, trauma or a general lack of movement. Depending on the cause, the fasciae stick to the connective tissue and harden continuously. Remodeling processes start in the connective tissue, in which the elastic components are replaced by non-stretchable collagen fibers. The basic tension in the tissue increases significantly and pain can arise.

Hardened connective tissue in the neck or back area can also be the reason for pain in these areas. A healthy amount of exercise is therefore essential to prevent pain in the connective tissue.

Read more on the subject: Pain in connective tissue

Glued connective tissue

Connective tissue Structures can stick together and thereby Big pain cause. Affected connective tissue can be found anywhere in the body. The most common places are Joints, between muscle layers or between organs affected. Causes are mostly inflammatory processescaused by influences from the outside, such as increased stress through sport or from within, such as bleeding or after surgery can arise. All of the above causes lead to some kind stress in the body and especially at the affected connective tissue site. Because of this stress it comes to Release of messenger substances from cells and blood vessels that make up one increased production of precursors of connective tissue, which cause a increased liability affect the surrounding tissue. The inflammation causes connective tissue to stick together. At Move arises a increased train on the bond, as the layers can no longer slide freely past one another as before. This hurts very strong. Through the Relieving posture, which is taken in a row, the affected come into one Vicious circle, because they cramp even more muscularly or no longer move the joints sufficiently. This creates even more pain and an even stronger posture is adopted.

The best way to break this vicious circle of glued connective tissue is to break through early and targeted exercise therapy, like physiotherapy, or through special massages the affected area. This should be further Prevent sticking and the loosen up existing ones. The inflammatory process should be through early as well anti-inflammatory drugs or cooling the affected area are stopped. In the worst case, it is advisable to consult a doctor in order to weigh up a possible surgical procedure.

Connective tissue diseases

The connective tissue has numerous components whose change can lead to various diseases. These can be genetic, triggered by autoimmune processes or caused by deficiencies such as vitamin C, among other things.

Connective tissue hardening - what is the underlying cause?

A hardening of the connective tissue, known as scleroderma in medical terminology. This is an autoimmune disease in which the connective tissue becomes increasingly solid.
The exact causes of a hardening of the connective tissue have not yet been sufficiently clarified. However, there are a few factors that can influence the causes of the hardening of the connective tissue. On the one hand, genetic predisposition plays a major role. On the other hand, it is assumed that there is a connection between cancer and hardening of the connective tissue. Furthermore, environmental factors such as handling chemicals at work play a decisive role.
Furthermore, antibodies against certain receptors, i.e. docking points of growth factors, i.e. specialized proteins, are associated with the disease of hardening of the connective tissue.


Vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy. Wounds heal poorly and bleeding from the mouth and gums and teeth fall out. This disease often affected pirates, who were unable to eat fresh fruit on their long sea voyages.

Marfan's Syndrome

This hereditary syndrome shows how important the correct structure of collagen fibers is. Here there is a genetic disorder of the smallest connective tissue fibers, the connective tissue in the entire body is unstable. The patients are very tall, have long, hyperextensible fingers, often bulging of the main artery and visual disturbances due to slipping of the eye lens, which is poorly anchored here. You can find out more about this here.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type III is also one of the diseases of the connective tissue in which collagen fibers are affected.

Connective tissue cancer

Cancer in connective tissue falls under the term soft tissue tumors. This term encompasses tumors of different tissues, such as connective tissue or muscles.
The majority of these soft tissue tumors are benign. The very rare malignant form is known as soft tissue sarcoma. The causes of the development are still unexplained in medicine. However, one suspects certain risk factors such as asbestos or previous radiation exposure. Genetic predisposition can also play an important role. In most cases, however, no causes for the development of the soft tissue tumor can be found.

The most common and most important symptom of soft tissue sarcoma is a persistent, i.e. persistent, rapidly growing and painful swelling that is usually larger than 5 cm. If these criteria apply, it is advisable to consult a doctor for advice. However, it is very important to note that the occurrence of soft tissue sarcomas in connective tissue is very low in Germany.

Rheumatism in connective tissue - does it exist?

Rheumatism is not an independent clinical picture, but describes a large number of different diseases. These are inflammation, pain in ligaments, tendons, joints, bones or in the connective tissue and complaints of the locomotor or holding apparatus.
Rheumatism, which takes place in the connective tissue, is classified as a collagenosis, a type of connective tissue disease. Collagenous connective tissue can be found in the body in muscles, tendons, skin, bones or cartilage and gives the connective tissues their stability and structure. Collagenoses are autoimmune diseases in which the defense is directed against the body's own cells of the connective tissue. The connective tissue is not the direct point of origin of rheumatism, but it plays a decisive role in this collective term for various diseases.