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Reticular fiber

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Definition

noun, plural: reticular fibers

A type of connective tissue fiber that is made up of type III collagen secreted by reticular cells, and is characterized by an intricate interstitial network with other similar fibers to serve as a supporting mesh in soft tissues such as liver and bone marrow


Supplement

Connective tissue is one of the major types of tissues in higher animals, including humans. One of the features of connective tissues is the presence of fibers. There are three major types of fibers associated with connective tissues: (1) collagen fibers, (2) elastic fibers, and reticular fibers.

A reticular fiber is the connective tissue fiber that is comprised predominantly of type III collagen. The type III collagen in reticular fiber is secreted by reticular cells. A reticular cell is a special type of fibroblast. It synthesizes collagen alpha-1 (III) for use in the production of reticular fibers.

Reticular fibers are thin network of fibers that serve as a framework for many lymphoid organs. They are characterized by their organization as a reticular meshwork of fine filaments and for having an affinity for silver and for periodic acid-Schiff stains.

A connective tissue that is chiefly made up of reticular fibers is referred to as reticular connective tissue. The reticular fibers form a labyrinth-like stroma to support free blood cells (large lymphocytes) in many lymphoid organs. Examples of lymphoid organs containing reticular fibers are lymph nodes, red bone marrow, and spleen.


Variant(s):

  • reticular fibre (British)

Synonym(s):

  • reticulin

See also: