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reticular tissue[re′tik·yə·lər ‚tish·ü]
connective tissue that forms the basis of such hematopoietic organs as bone marrow, the spleen, and the lymph nodes. It is also found in the tonsils, dental pulp, intestinal mucosa, and some other parts of the body.
Reticular tissue consists of branching (reticular) cells. The reticular fibers, which adjoin these cells’ bodies and processes, have a lattice formation and consist of delicate (200–400 Å) collagen-based fibrils of reticulin. Unlike collagen fibers, reticular fibers are intensely stained by silver salts and contain a large quantity of glycoproteins (mucopolysaccharides).
Reticular cells belong to the reticuloendothelial system and possess a high capacity for phagocytosis. It is believed that when irritated, they assume a round shape and become active macrophages. The function of recticular tissue in hematopoiesis is still obscure. The once prevalent view that reticular cells may be converted into such constituents of blood as lymphocytes and hemocytoblasts has not been confirmed experimentally.
N. G. KHRUSHCHOV