Identifying Tissues

Recognition of tissues is based on the presence of specific components within cells and on specific cellular relationships

Keeping these few basic facts and concepts about the fundamental four tissues in mind can facilitate the task of examining and interpreting histologic slide material. The first goal is to recognize aggregates of cells as tissues and determine the special characteristics that they present. Are the cells present at a surface? Are they in contact with their neighbors, or are they separated by definable intervening material? Do they belong to a group with special properties, such as muscle or nerve?

The structure and the function of each fundamental tissue are examined in subsequent chapters. In focusing on a single specific tissue we are, in a sense, artificially separating the constituent tissues of organs. However, this separation is necessary to understand and appreciate the histology of the various organs of the body and the means by which they operate as functional units and integrated systems.

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