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any of the diseases that affect human connective tissue. Diseases of the connective tissue can be divided into (1) a group of relatively uncommon genetic disorders that affect the primary structure of connective tissue and (2) a number of acquired maladies in which the connective tissues are the site of several more or less distinctive immunological and inflammatory reactions. The hereditary (genetic) connective tissue diseases include Marfan syndrome, homocystinuria, and osteogenesis imperfecta. The acquired diseases include, among many others, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatic fever, and osteoarthritis. Both types of disease are described in this article.