Types of Tissue

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Groups of cells of a similar type that perform a particular function are called tissues. There are 4 main types of tissue in the human body: epithelial tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue.

Types of Human Tissue

Epithelial Tissue

1) Epithelial tissue is named based on the shape of the individual cells: squamous (flat), cuboidal (cube shaped) and columnar (tall, like a column) and named based based on the number of layers of cells: simple (single layer) and stratified (multiple layers). So, a single layer of flat epithelial cells are called simple squamous.

Types of Epithelial Tissue

2) Simple squamous cells form a thin layer and are usually found forming membranes in the body where diffusion or secretion is needed such as the air sacs of the lungs, serous membranes covering organs and the walls of capillaries.

3) Simple cuboidal cells are often found forming glands that secrete various substances while simple columnar cells are found along the entire length of the digestive tract where they produce mucus.

4) Stratified squamous cells are found on the surface of areas of the body with lots of friction such as the mouth, skin and esophogus. Stratified cuboidal and columnar are rarely found in the body.

Connective Tissue

Connective tissue is found throughout the body and can be classified into different types: bone, cartilage, dense connective tissue, loose connective tissue and blood. All connective tissue consists of cells resting within an extracellular matrix composed of ground substance (water with dissolved compounds) and fibers produced by the cells (collagen, elastic fibers or reticular fibers).

Connective Tissue Fibers

1) Bone is composed of cells called osteocytes sitting in cavities known as lacunae together with calcium salts and collagen fibers.

2) Cartilage is similar to bone but not as rigid and the main cells within the cartilage matrix are called chondrocytes. Hyaline cartilage is found in the growing regions of bones (such as the epiphyseal plate). Fibrocartilage is found between the vertebrae.

Cartilage Locations

3) Dense connective tissue includes ligaments (connecting bone to bone) and tendons (connecting muscles to bone).

4) Loose connective tissue includes alveolar tissue underlying muscles and organs as well as fatty adipose tissue.

5) Blood is also considered a type of connective tissue.

Muscle Tissue

Muscle tissue is found throughout the body and is responsible for movement of the body, facial expressions, pumping of the heart and movement of food through the digestive system. There are 3 main types of muscle tissue: skeletal muscle tissue, cardiac muscle tissue, and smooth muscle tissue.

1) Skeletal Muscle

2) Cardiac Muscle

3) Smooth Muscle

Types of Muscle Tissue

Nervous Tissue

Nervous tissue consists of neurons and supporting neuroglia

Nerve Anatomy