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Connective tissue disease
A connective tissue disease is any disease that has the connective tissues of the body as a primary 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).
Additional recommended knowledge
Diseases in which inflammation or weakness of collagen tends to occur are also referred to as collagen diseases. Collagen vascular disease is a somewhat antiquated term used to describe diseases of the connective tissues that typically include diseases which can be (but are not necessarily) associated with blood vessel abnormalities.
Connective tissue diseases can have strong or weak inheritance risks, and can also be caused by environmental factors.
Heritable Connective Tissue Disorders
Weakly or Non-Heritable Connective Tissue Disorders
These are the autoimmune CTDs, where the cause is unknown but may have both genetic and environmental links. Weaker 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 which results in the production of extra antibodies into the circulation. The classic collagen vascular 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 which help in the diagnosis. The classic collagen vascular diseases include:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Connective_tissue_disease". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|