Connective tissue disorders
What are connective tissue disorders?
Connective tissue disorders target the connective tissues of the body. Connective tissue is the cellular 'glue' that gives your body its strength and supports bones, tendons, ligaments, heart valves and blood vessels. Connective tissues are the structural web within of the body that essentially hold the cells together — forming a framework or matrix — and are composed of two major structural protein molecules, collagen and elastin. Cartilage and fat are good examples of connective tissues, while elastin is the major component of ligaments (tissues that attach bone to bone) and skin.
There are estimated to be over 200 connective tissue disorders. In patients with connective tissue diseases, it is common for collagen and elastin to become injured by becoming inflamed. Other disorders feature abnormal immune system activity with tissue inflamation the result of an immune system that is targeting its own body tissues.
How do we help children who have connective tissue disorders?
Connective tissue disorders are managed at the hospitals of the Sydney Children's Hospital Network through the Clinical Genetics Service.