ANAT2511 Basic Tissues

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ANAT2511 Fundamentals of Anatomy This histology practical support page content is not part of the histology practical class and provides only background information for student self-directed learning purposes. Histology lecturer notice.


General Objective

To provide an overview of the four types of tissues: epithelial, connective, muscular and nervous, and to understand their organization in a limb.


Reading: Human Anatomy, Marieb et al., 6th ed., pages 64‐97
Virtual Slides: Selected Basic Tissues

Epithelial Tissue

There are many different epithelia both outside and inside the body, forming specialized barriers between environments, as well as many additional roles.

Adult skin histology 02.jpg Skin structure cartoon.jpg

Connective Tissue

The skin has both an epithelial (epidermis) and connective tissue (dermis, hypodermis) structure. Connective tissues are found within organs and tissues throughout the body, as well as specialized connective tissues like bone, cartilage and blood.

Adult skin histology 02.jpg

Muscular Tissue

Skeletal muscle structure cartoon.jpg Skeletal muscle structure showing attachment to bone by a tendon and the individual muscle cells (muscle fiber, myofibres) that make up the contract to shorten the muscle length.


The histological sections below firstly show what muscle fibres look like when cut in 2 different directions (transversely or cross-section and longitudinal section). The second image, at a much higher magnification, shows the regular organization of the cellular contractile machinery that gives muscle both its "striated" appearance and name.

Skeletal muscle histology 014.jpg Skeletal muscle histology 016.jpg
Skeletal muscle cut in 2 directions. Skeletal muscle contractile units (sarcomeres).

Nervous Tissue

Nervous tissue can be initially divided into 2 main components:

  1. Central Nervous System (brain, spinal cord)
  2. Peripheral Nervous System (ganglia, nerves)

Peripheral nerves can be seen passing through connective tissues in many body organs and tissues, including the limbs.

These peripheral nerves carry signals in both directions:

  • Motor - towards the periphery, to skeletal muscle to contract and move the skeleton.
  • Sensory - from the periphery, to the central nervous system providing information about skin sensation and joint position.
Peripheral nerve histology 01.jpg Peripheral nerve histology 04.jpg
Peripheral Nerve showing the nerve fibres and the associated neural connective tissue.

(Stain - Haematoxylin Eosin)

Typical nerve and blood vessel structure (neurovascular bundle) seen in tissues.

(Stain - Osmium)

Myelination animation.gif The conduction of signals within the nervous system rely upon the presence of non-neuronal cells that wrap around (myelinate) neuron processes and increase the speed of signaling (nerve conduction). Disruption of this layer, as in Multiple Sclerosis, can affect how signals are conducted in the nervous system.


How the specialised cell (Schwann cell) shown in brown (cytoplasm) and blue (nucleus), form the layers of membrane (myelin) wrapped around the nerve fibre shown in grey (axon).


Course Links

Histology Glossary: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | ANAT2241 Support | Histology | Histology Stains | Embryology Glossary

Virtual slides

Pages require student zpass to access.

ANAT2511 | Virtual Microscopy, Cells and Types of Tissue | Selected Basic Tissues | Histology of Bone and Joints | Histology of Muscle | Histology of Nervous Tissue | Integumentary System | Circulatory System Histology | Respiratory System Histology | GIT Histology | Urinary System Histology

Practical support

Pages can be accessed from any internet connected computer.

ANAT2511: Practical 1 Introduction to Histology | Practical 3 Basic Tissues | Practical 5 Bones and Joints | Practical 7 Muscle Tissue | Practical 9 Nervous Tissue | Practical 11 Integumentary (Skin) System | Practical 13 Circulatory System | Practical 15 Respiratory System | Practical 17 Gastro‐intestinal Tract, Liver and Gallbladder | Practical 19 Urinary System | Histology Drawings