Connective tissue disease

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Connective tissue disease
Classification and external resources
MedlinePlus001223
MeSHD003240
 
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Connective tissue disease
Classification and external resources
MedlinePlus001223
MeSHD003240

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 body's 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 (tissues that attach bone to bone) 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 one's own body tissues (autoimmunity).[1]

Diseases in which inflammation or weakness of collagen tends to occur are also referred to as collagen diseases. Collagen vascular diseases can be (but are not necessarily) associated with collagen and blood vessel abnormalities and that are autoimmune in nature.[1] See also vasculitis.

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

Heritable connective tissue disorders[edit]

Autoimmune connective tissue disorders[edit]

These are also referred to as systemic autoimmune diseases. The autoimmune CTDs may have both genetic and environmental causes. Genetic factors may create a predisposition towards developing these autoimmune diseases. They are characterized as a group by the presence of spontaneous overactivity of the immune system that results in the production of extra antibodies into the circulation. The classic collagen vascular diseases have a "classic" presentation with typical findings that doctors can recognize during an examination. Each also has "classic" blood test abnormalities and abnormal antibody patterns. However, each of these diseases can evolve slowly or rapidly from very subtle abnormalities before demonstrating the classic features that help in the diagnosis. The classic collagen vascular diseases include:

Other connective tissue disorders[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]