Electron micrographs show elastic fiber material also in the form of spot-like, weakly osmiophilic patches of different sizes. However, with suitable contrasting procedures, elastic fibers can also be rendered heavily blackened. Elastic fibers do not show the cross-striation pattern that is characteristic of collagen fibers. Two elements can be distinguished, an amorphous center of even density, which contains elastin, and a small outer zone (edge) with about 10nm thick microfilaments and 15-20nm thick microfibrils (fibrillar component).
Cross-sections and tangential sections through elastic fibers from the corium of human skin with accumulations of osmiophilic material near the outer borders. The dimensions of the elastic fibers differ.
Electron microscopy; magnification: x 28 600
The cells of the mesenchymal connective tissue contain little cytoplasm. Their partially thin, partially spread out, always branched cell processes interconnect the cells. This creates a loosely structured three-dimensional spongy network, which is filled with a viscous intercellular substance (amorphous gel-like ground substance, extracellular matrix). The ground substance contains the glycosaminoglycan hyaluronic acid. Intracellular structural components, such as fibers, are not yet or scarcely present. Light microscopy does not reveal cell borders inside the spongy network. All of the connective and supportive tissues, as well as most smooth muscle cells, arise from the oi
^ mesenchyme. Mesenchyme cells are pluripotent (cf. Fig. 135). ¿2 Mesenchyme from a mouse embryo.
Stain: iron hematoxylin-acid fuchsin; magnification: x 400
169 Embryonal Connective Tissue—Gelatinous or Mucous o
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