Connective Tissue Development

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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

  • The growth and developmental of the myodural bridge and its associated structures in the human fetus[1] "Myodural bridge (MDB) is a dense connective tissue between suboccipital muscle and dura mater. However, there are few reports on the development and maturation of the human MDB. This study aims to explore the developmental relationship between suboccipital muscle and MDB. 30 head and neck specimens from human fetuses (F) ranging from the 12th to 41st week (W) were made into histological sections. The F12W sections showed evidence that the dura mater dominated by fibroblasts, attached to the posterior atlanto-axial membrane (PAAM) which completely sealed the atlanto-axial space. In the F13W stage, myofibrils of the suboccipital muscle fibers increased significantly in number. At the F14W stage, a gap was observed at the caudal end of the PAAM. Numerous myodural bridge-like structures were observed blending into the dura mater through the gap. At the F19W stage, muscle cells mature. Starting at the F21W stage, the MDB were observed as fibroblasts that cross the atlanto-axial interspace and attach to the dura mater. Therefore, the traction generated by the suboccipital muscles seems to promote the maturity of MDB."
  • Brown adipose tissue: function and physiological significance[2] "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.


  1. Song Y, Lai HX, Song TW, Gong J, Liu B, Chi YY, Yue C, Zhang J, Sun SZ, Zhang CH, Tang W, Fan N, Yu WH, Wang YF, Hack GD, Yu SB, Zhang JF & Sui HJ. (2023). The growth and developmental of the myodural bridge and its associated structures in the human fetus. Sci Rep , 13, 13421. PMID: 37591924 DOI.
  2. Cannon B & Nedergaard J. (2004). Brown adipose tissue: function and physiological significance. Physiol. Rev. , 84, 277-359. PMID: 14715917 DOI.


Tews D & Wabitsch M. (2011). Renaissance of brown adipose tissue. Horm Res Paediatr , 75, 231-9. PMID: 21372557 DOI.

Schulz TJ & Tseng YH. (2009). Emerging role of bone morphogenetic proteins in adipogenesis and energy metabolism. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. , 20, 523-31. PMID: 19896888 DOI.

Forhead AJ & Fowden AL. (2009). The hungry fetus? Role of leptin as a nutritional signal before birth. J. Physiol. (Lond.) , 587, 1145-52. PMID: 19188249 DOI.

Billon N, Monteiro MC & Dani C. (2008). Developmental origin of adipocytes: new insights into a pending question. Biol. Cell , 100, 563-75. PMID: 18793119 DOI.

Cannon B & Nedergaard J. (2004). Brown adipose tissue: function and physiological significance. Physiol. Rev. , 84, 277-359. PMID: 14715917 DOI.


Billon N, Kolde R, Reimand J, Monteiro MC, Kull M, Peterson H, Tretyakov K, Adler P, Wdziekonski B, Vilo J & Dani C. (2010). Comprehensive transcriptome analysis of mouse embryonic stem cell adipogenesis unravels new processes of adipocyte development. Genome Biol. , 11, R80. PMID: 20678241 DOI.

Billon N, Iannarelli P, Monteiro MC, Glavieux-Pardanaud C, Richardson WD, Kessaris N, Dani C & Dupin E. (2007). The generation of adipocytes by the neural crest. Development , 134, 2283-92. PMID: 17507398 DOI.

Search PubMed

Search Pubmed: connective tissue development | adipose Development

Additional Images


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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 12) Embryology Connective Tissue Development. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G