Reticular connective tissue
Reticular connective tissue is composed of a meshwork of reticular fibers (type III collagen) in an open arrangement. This special connective tissue forms the stroma for hemopoietic tissues and lymphoid structures and organs, except the thymus. These reticular fibers are secreted by reticular cells, which surround the fibers. Lymph node 400x
Reticular fibers >
Reticular fibers are composed of Type III collagen and are a component of most connective tissues. However, in hemopoietic tissues and lymphoid structures and organs, they constitute the majority of the stroma and are produced by reticular cells. In other tissues, reticular fibers can also be produced by fibroblasts, Schwann cells and smooth muscle cells.
Lymphoid tissue >
In addition to supporting lymphoid tissue, the open meshwork of reticular tissue allows for percolation of tissue fluid and lymph around the lymphoid cells for antigen surveillance and initiation of the immune response.