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Elastic fiber

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Definition

noun, plural: elastic fibers

A type of connective tissue fiber that is made up, primarily, of elastin, and found in skin, lungs, arteries, elastic cartilage, connective tissue proper, etc.



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.

An elastic fiber is the connective tissue fiber that is yellowish in colour, as opposed to the collagen fiber that is whitish. It is relatively thick, with a diameter of about 0.2 to 2 μm. In some ligaments, though, the elastic fiber could have larger diameter.

While collagen fiber is made up of collagen, the elastic fiber is made up of, primarily, elastin. Elastin is a glycoprotein comprised mainly of glycine and proline residues. Another elastin fiber component is the fibrous fibrillin. The fibrillin provide a scaffold for deposition of elastin.

The elastic fiber is distinguished from other connective tissue fibers for its great elasticity. It can stretch up to one and a half times their length then snap back to its original length when relaxed.

The elastic fibers are produced by fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells in the arteries. A connective tissue that consists mainly of elastic fibers is referred to as elastic tissue.


Variant(s):

  • elastic fibre (British)

Synonym(s):

  • yellow fiber

See also: