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intercellular substance[¦in·tər′sel·yə·lər ¦səb·stəns]
an amorphous thin film found between contiguous cells of plant tissue, cementing together their primary walls. In cross sections of coniferous wood the intercellular substance appears as a light network with thickenings in the corners of contiguous cells. Pectin substances usually predominate in the composition of intercellular substance; however, in woody tissues, lignin predominates. As a result of the dissolution of the intercellular substance, cells lose their connection with one another and dissociate.
In animals and man the intercellular substance is a characteristic component of various types of connective tissue (cartilage, bone), which is formed by the cells of that tissue and consists of collagen and various fibers (reticular, elastic) that are immersed in an amorphous ground substance. The latter consists primarily of mucopolysaccharides (hyaluronic and other acids); the fibers contain scleroproteins, which are fibrillar proteins. The basic functions of intercellular substance are supportive, or mechanical, and trophic, or more accurately, metabolic.