Connective Tissue Development

From Embryology


Brown adipose tissue

Connective tissues in the body region have a mesoderm origin, while in the head region neural crest also contributes to these tissues.

This topic is also covered in musculoskeletal (Tendon Development), integumentary (Integumentary Development) and endocrine development (Adipose Tissue).

Blood is a liquid connective tissue (More? Blood Development).

  • Loose and dense connective tissue
  • Reticular connective tissue
  • Adipose Tissue
  • Mesenchymal connective tissue
Connective Tissue: adipose | tendon | integumentary

System Links: Introduction | Cardiovascular | Coelomic Cavity | Endocrine | Gastrointestinal Tract | Genital | Head | Immune | Integumentary | Musculoskeletal | Neural | Neural Crest | Placenta | Renal | Respiratory | Sensory | Birth

Some Recent Findings

  • Brown adipose tissue: function and physiological significance[1] "The function of brown adipose tissue is to transfer energy from food into heat; physiologically, both the heat produced and the resulting decrease in metabolic efficiency can be of significance. ... The development of brown adipose tissue with its characteristic protein, uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1), was probably determinative for the evolutionary success of mammals, as its thermogenesis enhances neonatal survival and allows for active life even in cold surroundings."

Development Overview

Mesoderm Development

Mesoderm cartoon 01.jpg Cells migrate through the primitive streak to form mesodermal layer. Extraembryonic mesoderm lies adjacent to the trilaminar embryo totally enclosing the amnion, yolk sac and forming the connecting stalk.
Mesoderm cartoon 02.jpg Paraxial mesoderm accumulates under the neural plate with thinner mesoderm laterally. This forms 2 thickened streaks running the length of the embryonic disc along the rostrocaudal axis. In humans, during the 3rd week, this mesoderm begins to segment. The neural plate folds to form a neural groove and folds.
Mesoderm cartoon 03.jpg Segmentation of the paraxial mesoderm into somites continues caudally at 1 somite/90minutes and a cavity (intraembryonic coelom) forms in the lateral plate mesoderm separating somatic and splanchnic mesoderm.

Note intraembryonic coelomic cavity communicates with extraembryonic coelom through portals (holes) initially on lateral margin of embryonic disc.

Mesoderm cartoon 04.jpg Somites continue to form. The neural groove fuses dorsally to form a tube at the level of the 4th somite and "zips up cranially and caudally and the neural crest migrates into the mesoderm.

Somite - Dermatome

The dermis and hypodermis layers of the skin.

Somatic Mesoderm

The body wall connective tissue.

Splanchnic Mesoderm

The lamina propria and submucosa layers of the gastrointestinal tract wall.



D Tews, M Wabitsch Renaissance of brown adipose tissue. Horm Res Paediatr: 2011, 75(4);231-9 PubMed 21372557

Tim J Schulz, Yu-Hua Tseng Emerging role of bone morphogenetic proteins in adipogenesis and energy metabolism. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev.: 2009, 20(5-6);523-31 PubMed 19896888

Alison J Forhead, Abigail L Fowden The hungry fetus? Role of leptin as a nutritional signal before birth. J. Physiol. (Lond.): 2009, 587(Pt 6);1145-52 PubMed 19188249

Nathalie Billon, Miguel Caetano Monteiro, Christian Dani Developmental origin of adipocytes: new insights into a pending question. Biol. Cell: 2008, 100(10);563-75 PubMed 18793119

Barbara Cannon, Jan Nedergaard Brown adipose tissue: function and physiological significance. Physiol. Rev.: 2004, 84(1);277-359 PubMed 14715917


Nathalie Billon, Raivo Kolde, Jüri Reimand, Miguel C Monteiro, Meelis Kull, Hedi Peterson, Konstantin Tretyakov, Priit Adler, Brigitte Wdziekonski, Jaak Vilo, Christian Dani Comprehensive transcriptome analysis of mouse embryonic stem cell adipogenesis unravels new processes of adipocyte development. Genome Biol.: 2010, 11(8);R80 PubMed 20678241

Nathalie Billon, Palma Iannarelli, Miguel Caetano Monteiro, Corinne Glavieux-Pardanaud, William D Richardson, Nicoletta Kessaris, Christian Dani, Elisabeth Dupin The generation of adipocytes by the neural crest. Development: 2007, 134(12);2283-92 PubMed 17507398

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2018, December 9) Embryology Connective Tissue Development. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2018, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G