Which of the following provides supporting framework for tissues and organs of the body:
Reticular fibers are mainly composed of type III collagen. Individual reticular fibers are narrow in diameter about 20nm. These fibers usually don't form thick bundles. Under light microscope, reticular fibers appear as thread-like appearance. These fibers contain more sugar groups than the collagen fibers and hence they are displayed by periodic acid- Schiff (PAS) reaction. These fibers are also stained with silver staining procedures. Under silver staining, these fibers appear black and thus they are said to be argyrophilic. These fibers are arranged in a mesh-like pattern hence they are called reticular fibers.
Reticular fibers are present at the periphery or boundary of connective tissue, around the adipocytes, small blood vessels, nerves, and muscle cells. These fibers are also present in lymphatic tissues except thymus. Reticular fibers are either produced by reticular cells or sometimes by fibroblasts. But in the endoneurium of peripheral nerves, reticular fibers are produced by Schwann cells. Thus reticular fibers provide a supporting framework for the cellular components of various tissues and organs of the body.