All tissues in the body contain an extracellular matrix (ECM) that provides tissue shape and form. We would indeed be the proverbial blob of jelly on the floor if this extracellular structure were not there. So the ECM is an implicit part of being multicellular and having specialized tissues and organs to carry out different functions. As something labelled as ‘structural’, the ECM tends to be taken for granted when tissue functions are being thought about. However, this belies the fact that the ECM structure is essential to support most tissue functions.

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