ⓘ Connective tissue disease

                                     

ⓘ Connective tissue disease

A connective tissue disease is any disease that has the connective tissues of the body as a target of pathology. Connective tissue is any type of biological tissue with an extensive extracellular matrix that supports, binds together, and protects organs. These tissues form a framework, or matrix, for the body, and are composed of two major structural protein molecules: collagen and elastin. There are many different types of collagen protein in each of the bodys tissues. Elastin has the capability of stretching and returning to its original length - like a spring or rubber band. Elastin is the major component of ligaments and skin. In patients with connective tissue disease, it is common for collagen and elastin to become injured by inflammation. Many connective tissue diseases feature abnormal immune system activity with inflammation in tissues as a result of an immune system that is directed against ones own body tissues.

Diseases in which inflammation or weakness of collagen tends to occur are also referred to as collagen diseases. Collagen vascular diseases can be, but not necessarily associated with collagen and blood vessel abnormalities and autoimmune in nature. Cm. also vasculitis.

Connective tissue diseases can have strong or weak inheritance risks, and can also be caused by environmental factors.