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Histology Definitions

Histology is the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells

and tissues of plants and animals. It is commonly
performed by examining cells and tissues by Fixation,
Embedding, Sectioning, Staining, then Examination
under a Light microscope or Electron microscope.

Histology is an essential tool of biology and medicine.

Histopathology, the microscopic study of diseased tissue,

is an important tool in anatomical pathology, since accurate
diagnosis of cancer and other diseases usually requires
histopathological examination of samples.

Histology Classification

There were four basic types of tissues

1. Epithelial tissue line the cavities and surfaces of structures

throughout the body, and also form many glands

2. Muscle tissue is a soft tissue that composes muscles. It

formed during embryo development in a process
known as myogenesis.
3. Nervous tissue is the main component of the two parts of
the nervous system which regulates and controls bodily
functions and activity.

4. Connective tissue (CT) is a kind of biological tissue that

supports, connects, or separates different types of tissues
3 and organs of the body
Connective tissue . Epithelial tissue Muscle tissue

Nervous tissue

Epithelial tissue Definition

The exterior of the body and almost all its internal surfaces are
cellular sheets called epithelial membranes or epithelia,
which, along with the various gIands that develop from them,
constitute epithelial tissue.
This simple basic tissue develops from all three embryonic
germ layers. The epithelial component of skin (ectoderm) . The
Neuroectoderm :Ependymal cells. The epithelial lining and
glands of the digestive tract (endoderm). The serous linings of
the peritoneal, pleural, and pericardial cavities, and also the
Lining of the circulatory system(mesoderm)named
Through convention, the membranous lining of the heart,
blood vessels, and lymphatic is termed endothelium.
Epithelial tissue Structure

Cells in epithelium are very densely packed together like bricks

in a wall, leaving very little intercellular space. The cells can
form continuous sheets which are attached to each other at
many locations by adherents junctions, tight junctions and

The two basics of epithelial tissue structure are Basement

membrane and Cell junctions

Epithelial tissue Structure

1. Basement membrane
All epithelial cells rest on a basement membrane, which acts as
a scaffolding on which epithelium can grow and regenerate. It consists of two
1-Basal lamina : which is composed of mucopolysaccharide (glycoprotein)
synthesized by the epithelial cells.
2-Reticular Lamina:which is composed of a delicate network of collagen typeIV
formed by the connective tissue cells
Functions:1-connects epithelial cells to the underlying connective tissue.
2-It is semipermeable membrane allow the passage of low molecular weight
substances and prevent large molecules. This function is very important in the
glomeruli of the kidney. Where the basal lamina serves as a filter
3- Basal lamina is present also around muscle cells and nerve fibers . It is called
external lamina

3) Basal surface
• The epithelial cells
are attached to the
underlying tissues
by basement
membrane formed
of two layers
• Basal lamina.
• Reticular lamina.
Important characteristics of epithelia
– Cellularity: cells bound closely together by one or more type of
cell junctions.

– Polarity: always expose to apical surface that face the external

of the body or some internal cavities.

– Attachment: the basal surface is bound to a thin basement

-Avascularity: Epithelia do not contain blood vessels and obtain
nutrients by diffusion from the underlying C.T.

– Regeneration: Damaged or lost epithelial cells are usually

replaced by division of other cells.
Function of Epithelial tissues
– provide physical protection (example skin)

– Control permeability (example, lungs,


– Provide sensation (example tongue and nasal


– Produce specialized secretion (example,

Epithelial tissue Structure

2. Cell junctions
Cell junctions are especially abundant in epithelial tissues. They
consist of protein complexes and provide contact between
neighboring cells, between a cell and the extracellular matrix, or
they build up the paracellular barrier of epithelia and control the
paracellular transport.

Cell junctions are the contact points between plasma membrane

and tissue cells. There are mainly 5 different types of cell
junctions. They are tight junctions, adherents junctions,
desmosomes, hemidesmosomes, and gap junctions.

Epithelial tissue Structure

2. Cell junctions Continue

Tight junctions are a pair of trans-membrane protein fused on

outer plasma membrane.
Adherents junctions are a plaque (protein layer on the inside
plasma membrane) which attaches both cells' microfilaments.
Desmosomes attach to the microfilaments of cytoskeleton made
up of keratin protein.
Hemi-desmosomes resemble desmosomes on a section. They are
made up of the integrin (a trans-membraner protein) instead of
cadherin. They attach the epithelial cell to the basement membrane.
Gap junctions connect the cytoplasm of two cells and are made
up of proteins called connexins
Epithelial tissue Function, Classification

Epithelia are classified on the basis of 1) the number of

constituent cell layers and 2) the shape and chief characteristics
of their most superficial cells.

Membrane specializations of epithelium
Apical surface
– cilia in cells lining of
respiratory tract.

– Microvilli (in cells lining


Simple Stratified
The tissue is formed
The tissue is formed of more than one
of single layer of layer of cells and
cells and all cells rest only the most inner
on the same base. layer rests on the
According to the shape of the exposed "superficial" layer
of cells "in cross section" simple or stratified epithelia

Squamous "flat cells"


(1) Simple squamous epithelium
• Single layer of flat cells with central flat nucleus.
• present where the wall must be thin for absorption and
exchange of materials.
• Examples “sites”:
1- Wall of lung alveoli "gas exchange".
2- Bowman's capsule of kidney "filtration".
3- Lining of body cavities as pleura, peritoneum and
pericardium and called Mesothelium.
4- Lining of blood vessels and capillaries and called

(2) Simple cuboidal epithelium
Examples: “sites”
1- Lining of kidney tubules.
2- Lining of ducts of glands.
• The cells appear squares "cubes" in cross section.

(3) Simple columnar epithelium
• The cells are taller than cuboidal epithelium.
The nuclei are toward the base.
Example: “sites”
1- lining of stomach
2- lining o small intestine "where provided with

(4)Simple columnar ciliated

• Tall cells with cilia on surface,

• Site: Uterus and fallopian tube to move ova ,
lung bronchioles to push mucus upwards.
Goblet cell:
• 1-Modified columnar cell.
• 2-Present in digestive and respiratory tracts.
• 3-Appears vacuolated due to dissolved mucus
• 4-sectretes mucus.
Showing goblet cells

(5) Pseudostratified columnar
One layer of columnar cells that are crowded ,
all rest on basement membrane but some
reach surface another not , so nuclei appear
at different levels giving false stratified
appearance .
present in vas deferense and male membranous

(6) Pseudostratified columnar ciliated

• In trachea it is provided with cilia and called

pseudo stratified ciliated columnar
As well non motile cilia (stereocilia) present in

(B) Stratified Epithelium
1- Stratified squamous epithelium
• IntThe basal cells are columnar,
• ermediate layers are polygonal,
• Superficial layers are squamous.
• The cells of the basal layer are active &
continuously divide to replace the shaded
or dead cells from the superficial layers.
• Two types are present
A- keratinized stratified squamous epithelium:
• ThThe apical layers are packed with filaments of
protein called keratin.
• is type is present in the skin and provides
resistance to abrasions & dehydration &

B- Non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium

• This type provides resistance to abrasion but not
to dehydration & dryness and must be always
moist as in the lining of the oral cavity and
keratinized stratified Non-keratinized stratified
squamous epithelium squamous epithelium

2- Transitional epithelium
• In urinary passage (renal pelvis, ureter, urinary
bladder , urethra) so called urothelium . When
• Are empty it is formed of 6-8 layers .
• Has non clear non wavy basement membrane
• Basal cells are low columnar.
• Intermediate cells are polygonal.
• Mucin like substance is present in intercellular
space and allow gliding of cells over each others.
• Superficial cells are large cuboidal with convex
surface and may contain 2nuclei .
• When passage are full of urine it is formed of
2 to 3 layers of squamous cells.

Transitional epithelium LM

3- Stratified columnar epithelium
• Only the superficial cells are columnar.
• Example: (a) lining of pharynx
(b) lining of urethera.

4- Stratified Cubical Epithelium:
Superficial cells are cubical.
Present in ducts of sweat glands.

Exocrine glands are classified
according to the structure into:
1- Unicellular glands
The gland consists of one cell.
Example :- Goblet cells which Secret mucin

2- Multicellular glands
The gland consists of many cells.
• Multicellular glands are classified according to
the number of ducts into.
– Simple exocrine glands with single duct.
– Compound exocrine glands with system of ducts.

• Simple & compound exocrine gland, are

classified according to the shape of the
secretary portion of the gland into
– Tubular
– Acinar (alveolar)

According to the mode of secretion glands are classified into 3
• Merocrine glands
• The secretory products leave the cells by exocytosis
• Example: Mucous glands.
• Apocrine glands.
• The secretory products leave the cells with the apical part of the
• e.g. Mammary gland.
• N.B. in Merocrine & a porcine glands the secretions leave the cell
relatively intact without damage & able to continue secretion.
• Holocrine glands
• The secretion is associated with destruction of the cells to release the
• In this type the wall of the glands must divide continuously to replace the
damaged cells.
• Example: sebaceous gland.
Types of Secretions
1- Serous glands
• Secrete a watery secretion contains enzymes
• e.g. parotid salivary gland

2- Mucous glands
• Secret Mucin which when mixed with water changes to
• Example: sublingual salivary gland.

3- Mixed glands
• Secret serous & mucous secretions.
• Example: submandibular salivary gland.
• Acts as receptor formed of sensory and
supporting cells
• E.g.: taste buds of tongue ,rod and cones of
retina organ of control of ear.

Branched cells that contract to squeeze
secretion from secretory cells to the ducts in
salivary glands.
• A neoplasm is an abnormal mass of tissue, the growth of
which exceeds and is uncoordinated with that of the normal
tissues, and persists in the same excessive manner after
cessation of the stimulus which evoked the change

46 Normal Abnorma
• It is thus called to the transformation or replacement
of one adult tissue in another of the same class For
example, squamous metaplasia of the respiratory
epithelium of the bronchi in smokers

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