Three general characteristics of connective tissue are that they are highly vascularized, they recover well from damage and they possess a lot of non-cellular material. Examples of specialized connective tissue include blood, bone, cartilage and lymphoid tissue.
The non-cellular component of connective tissue is called the extracellular matrix. This matrix is composed of proteins and sugars that bathe the cells present in the tissues, though the majority of the matrix is water.
The three main types of cell found in connective tissue are fibroblasts, macrophages and mast cells. Fibroblasts produce the fibers of the matrix, macrophages scavenge the tissue as an immune cell, while mast cells release heparin and histamine in response to stress.