A type of connective tissue characterized by the predominance of reticular fibers made of type III collagen and forming a labyrinth-like stroma for cells such as lymphocytes
Connective tissue is one of the major animal tissues. Many connective tissues are comprised of ground substance, cells, and fibers. They are found in between organs or other tissues, connecting them and/or providing support. The ground substance in connective tissues is the amorphous gel-like substance. They are found in between cells, and composed largely of water, glycosaminoglycans, glycoproteins, and proteoglycans. The three main types of connective tissue fiber are collagen, elastic, and reticular fibers. A connective tissue that contains a large network of reticular fibers is called a reticular connective tissue. The reticular fibers are made up mainly of type III collagen (100-150 nm in diameter) synthesized by special fibroblasts, reticular cells. Reticular fibers crosslink, forming a fine meshwork.
The reticular connective tissues are found in the kidney, the spleen, lymph nodes, and bone marrow. Their function is to form a stroma and provide structural support, such as that in the lymphoid organs, e.g. red bone marrow, spleen, and lymph node stromal cells.