Dense Connective Tissue
Dense connective tissue, also called dense fibrous tissue, is a type of connective tissue with fibers as its main matrix element. The fibers are mainly composed of type I collagen. Crowded between the collagen fibers are rows of fibroblasts, fiber-forming cells, that generate the fibers. Dense connective tissue forms strong, rope-like structures such as tendons and ligaments. Tendons attach skeletal muscles to bones; ligaments connect bones to bones at joints. Ligaments are more stretchy and contain more elastic fibers than tendons. Dense connective tissue also make up the lower layers of the skin (dermis), where it is arranged in sheets.
Loose Connective Tissue
Loose connective tissue is a category of connective tissue which includes areolar tissue, reticular tissue, and adipose tissue.
Loose connective tissue is the most common type of connective tissue in vertebrates. It holds organs in place and attaches epithelial tissue to other underlying tissues. For example, it forms telae, such as the tela submucosa and tela subserosa, which connect mucous and serous membranes to the muscular layer. It also surrounds the blood vessels and nerves. Cells called fibroblasts are widely dispersed in this tissue; they are irregular branching cells that secrete strong fibrous proteins and proteoglycans as an extracellular matrix. The cells of this type of tissue are generally separated by quite some distance by a gelatinous substance primarily made up of collagenous and elastic fibers.
Usually “loose connective tissue” is considered a parent category that includes the mucous connective tissue of the fetus, areolar connective tissue, reticular connective tissue, and adipose tissue.