Tissue Maintenance and Repair
(Workbook Page 19)
Fibroblasts are the most common cells in the body. Their main function is to repair and maintain the connective tissue.
The Extracellular Matrix is composed of a honeycomb pattern of loose connective tissue formed by collagen. Fibroblasts manufacture and release collagen which forms the basis for establishing the structure of the loose connective tissue. Numerous other substances give it it's high tensile strength, flexibility and structural integrity. Capillaries and nerves run through the extracellular matrix. Interstitial fluid slowly moves through it and the entire body. This tissue is present in every organ system in the body. Tissue maintenance and repair, immune responses, cellular nutrition and energy delivery and waste removal all occur in the ECM. The Extracellular matrix is the building block of the Connective tissue system.
Most of the body’s energy is used to perform this activity. Fibroblasts make collagen, contributing it to the extracellular matrix. Thus we are constantly building and rebuilding the tissue that provides structure, connectivity, protection and function to our entire body. When an injury or infection occurs fibroblasts stop making collagen, change shape and travel to the area of injury. Once there they release inflammatory products, destroying damaged tissue so that it can be picked up by other cells and removed from the area. When this is accomplished they switch back to making collagen and repair the area of damage. When this task is finished fibroblasts migrate back to where they came from and return to their normal shape and function.