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Animal Tissues


Cell is the basic structural and functional unit of an organism. In unicellular organisms, a single cell performs all the functions but in large or multicellular organisms various cells are specialized to perform special functions. A group of such cells which may be structurally dissimilar but are always similar in origin are termed as tissue. The term animal tissue was coined by Bichat.

Animal tissues are basically of four types

  1. Epithelial Tissue
  2. Connective tissue
  3. Muscular tissue
  4. Nervous tissue

Epithelial Tissue:

Epi means Upon and Thelio means grow. A biologytissue that grows upon another tissue is called epithelial tissue. Their basic function is to line, cover and protect other organs. They are characterized by cells tightly junked together. They can form single or multi layer of cells. The innermost cells always lie on a cell secretion membrane called as basement membrane. The free surface of these cells is sometimes lined by hair called cilia or microvilli. Based on number of layer of cells these are of 2 types: simple and compound epithelial tissues. They are further divided on the basis of 1. Cell shape and 2. Stretching ability.

Based on cell shape they are divided into 3 types.

  1. Simple squamous epithelium: these cells are very thin, much wider than they are thick. They are present in the air sacs of respiratory membrane and lining of blood vessels, heart and lymphatic tubes. Stratified squamous tissue is also found in skin, vagina, esophagus and mouth.
  2. Simple cuboidal epithelium: these are cube shaped cells involved in absorption and secretion. They are found in kidney tubules, ducts and small glands and surface of ovary.
  3. Simple columnar epithelium: these are elongated cells, much longer than they are wide. They line the digestive tract, gall bladder and excretory ducts of some glands. They have microvilli at surface for absorption.

Based on stretching ability they are of 2 types

  1. Stratified: many layer of cuboidal cells, non stretchable in nature
  2. Transitional: stretchable, also known as plastic epithelium

Connective Tissue:

These are widely spread cells in a matrix produced by these cells. The cell matrix is composed of 2 regions: Ground – i.e. liquid, gum like and Fibers – elastic and non elastic fibers. Their major function is support and protection. They are of 6 types

  1. Loose areolar: wraps and provides support to organs and under the skin
  2. Dense: tendons and ligaments
  3. Adipose: lipid or fat storage cells
  4. Cartilage: ends of bones, ear, nose
  5. Bone
  6. Blood

Muscular Tissue:

These are cells specialized for contraction. They contain fibers. They are of 3 types:

  1. Skeletal muscle
  2. Smooth muscle
  3. Cardiac muscle

Nervous Tissue:

They consist of neurons or specialized cells that transmit impulses and responds to various stimuli.

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