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Tissue (biology)

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Tissue (biology)

Cross section of sclerenchyma fibers in plant ground tissue
Microscopic view of a histologic specimen of human lung tissue stained with hematoxylin and eosin.

In origin that together carry out a specific function. Organs are then formed by the functional grouping together of multiple tissues.

The study of tissue is known as histology or, in connection with disease, histopathology. The classical tools for studying tissues are the paraffin block in which tissue is embedded and then sectioned, the histological stain, and the optical microscope. In the last couple of decades, developments in electron microscopy, immunofluorescence, and the use of frozen tissue sections have enhanced the detail that can be observed in tissues. With these tools, the classical appearances of tissues can be examined in health and disease, enabling considerable refinement of medical diagnosis and prognosis.


  • Animal tissues 1
    • Connective tissue 1.1
    • Muscle tissue 1.2
    • Nervous tissue 1.3
    • Epithelial tissue 1.4
    • Mineralized tissue 1.5
  • Plant tissues 2
    • Meristematic tissues 2.1
    • Permanent tissues 2.2
      • Simple tissues 2.2.1
        • Parenchyma
        • Collenchyma
        • Sclerenchyma
        • Epidermis
      • Complex permanent tissue 2.2.2
        • Xylem
        • Phloem
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Animal tissues

PAS diastase showing the fungus Histoplasma.

Grouped in to four basic types: connective, muscle, nervous, and epithelial. Multiple tissue types compose organs and body structures. While all animals can generally be considered to contain the four tissue types, the manifestation of these tissues can differ depending on the type of organism. For example, the origin of the cells comprising a particular tissue type may differ developmentally for different classifications of animals.

The skin, the airways, and the digestive tract. It serves functions of protection, secretion, and absorption, and is separated from other tissues below by a basal lamina.

Connective tissue

Connective tissues are fibrous tissues. They are made up of cells separated by non-living material, which is called an extracellular matrix. This matrix can be liquid or rigid. For example, blood has plasma as its matrix and bone's matrix is rigid.Connective tissue gives shape to organs and holds them in place. Blood, bone, tendon, ligament, adipose and areolar tissues are examples of connective tissues.

Muscle tissue

cells in the human body.

Nervous tissue

Cells comprising the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system are classified as neural tissue. In the central nervous system, neural tissue forms the brain and spinal cord and, in the peripheral nervous system forms the cranial nerves and spinal nerves, inclusive of the motor neurons.

Epithelial tissue

The epithelial tissues are formed by cells that cover the organ surfaces such as the surface of the secretion and absorption. Epithelial tissue helps to protect organs from microorganisms, injury, and fluid loss.

Functions of epithelial tissue:

  • the cells of the body surface form the outer layer of skin.
  • inside the body, epithelial cells form the lining of the mouth & alimentary canal & protect these organs.
  • epithelial tissues help in absorption of water & nutrients.
  • epithelial tissues help in elimination of waste.
  • epithelial tissues secrete enzymes and/or hormones in the form of glands.

There are many kinds of epithelium, and nomenclature is somewhat variable. Most classification schemes combine a description of the cell-shape in the upper layer of the epithelium with a word denoting the number of layers: either simple (one layer of cells) or stratified (multiple layers of cells). However, other cellular features, such as cilia may also be described in the classification system. Some common kinds of epithelium are listed below:

  • Simple squamous epithelium
  • Stratified squamous epithelium
  • Simple cuboidal epithelium
  • Transitional Epithelium
  • Pseudostratified Columnar Epithelium (AKA Ciliated columnar epithelium)
  • Columnar epithelium,
  • Glandular epithelium,
  • Ciliated columnar epithelium,

Mineralized tissue

Plant tissues

Cross-section of a flax plant stem with several layers of different tissue types:
1. Pith,
2. Protoxylem,
3. Xylem I,
4. Phloem I,
5. Sclerenchyma (bast fibre),
6. Cortex,
7. Epidermis

Plant tissues are categorized broadly into three tissue systems: the epidermis, the ground tissue, and the vascular tissue.

Plant tissues can also be divided differently into two types:

  1. Meristematic tissues
  2. Permanent tissues.

Meristematic tissues

Meristematic tissue consists of actively dividing cells, and leads to increase in length and thickness of the plant. The primary growth of a plant occurs only in certain, specific regions, such as in the tips of stems or roots. It is in these regions that meristematic tissue is present. Cells in these tissues are roughly spherical or polyhedral, to rectangular in shape, and have thin cell walls. New cells produced by meristem are initially those of meristem itself, but as the new cells grow and mature, their characteristics slowly change and they become differentiated as components of the region of occurrence of meristimatic tissues, they are classified as:

  • Apical Meristem - It is present at the growing tips of stems and roots and increases the length of the stem and root. They form growing parts at the apices of roots and stems and are responsible for increase in length, also called primary growth. This meristem is responsible for the linear growth of an organ.
  • Lateral Meristem usually occurs beneath the bark of the tree in the form of Cork Cambium and in vascular bundles of dicots in the form of vascular cambium. The activity of this cambium results in the formation of secondary growth.
  • Intercalary Meristem - This meristem is located in between permanent tissues. It is usually present at the base of node, inter node and on leaf base. They are responsible for growth in length of the plant and increasing the size of the internode, They result in branch formation and growth.

The cells of meristematic tissues are similar in structure and have thin and elastic primary cell wall made up of cellulose. They are compactly arranged without inter-cellular spaces between them. Each cell contains a dense cytoplasm and a prominent nucleus. Dense protoplasm of meristematic cells contains very few vacuoles. Normally the meristematic cells are oval, polygonal or rectangular in shape.

Meristemetic tissue cells have a large nucleus with small or no vacuoles, they have no inter cellular spaces.

Permanent tissues

The meristematic tissues that take up a specific role lose the ability to divide. This process of taking up a permanent shape, size and a function is called cellular differentiation. Cells of meristematic tissue differentiate to form different types of permanent tissue. There are 3 types of permanent tissues:

  1. simple permanent tissues
  2. complex permanent tissues
  3. special or secretory tissues (glandular).

Simple tissues

A group of cells which are similar in origin; similar in structure and similar in function are called simple permanent tissue. They are of four types:

  1. Parenchyma
  2. Collenchyma
  3. Sclerenchyma
  4. Epidermis

Parenchyma (para - 'beside'; chyma - 'in filling, loose, unpacked') is the bulk of a substance. In plants, it consists of relatively unspecialised living cells with thin cell walls that are usually loosely packed so that large spaces between cells (intercellular spaces) are found in this tissue. This tissue provides support to plants and also stores food. In some situations, a parenchyma contains chlorophyll and performs photosynthesis, in which case it is called a chlorenchyma. In aquatic plants, large air cavities are present in parenchyma to give support to them to float on water. Such a parenchyma type is called aerenchyma. shape:Each individual parenchymatous cell may be isodiametric,spherical,oval,cylindrical,rectangular,stellate or long spindle like.

Cross section of collenchyma cells

Collenchyma is Greek word where "Collen" means gum and "chyma" means infusion. It is a living tissue of primary body like Parenchyma. Cells are thin-walled but possess thickening of cellulose, water and pectin substances (pectocellulose) at the corners where number of cells join together. This tissue gives a tensile strength to the plant and the cells are compactly arranged and have very little inter-cellular spaces. It occurs chiefly in hypodermis of stems and leaves. It is absent in monocots and in roots.

Collenchymatous tissue acts as a supporting tissue in stems of young plants. It provides mechanical support, elasticity, and tensile strength to the plant body. It helps in manufacturing sugar and storing it as starch. It is present in the margin of leaves and resist tearing effect of the wind.


Sclerenchyma is Greek word where "Sclrenes" means hard and chyma" means infusion. This tissue consists of thick-walled, dead cells. These cells have hard and extremely thick secondary walls due to uniform distribution of lignin. Lignin deposition is so thick that the cell walls become strong, rigid and impermeable to water. Sclerenchymatous cells are closely packed without inter-cellular spaces between them. Thus, they appear as hexagonal net in transverse section. The cells are cemented with the help of lamella. The middle lamella is a wall that lies between adjacent cells. Sclerenchymatous cells mainly occur in hypodermis, pericycle, secondary xylem and phloem. They also occur in endocarp of almond and coconut. It is made of pectin, ligni], protein. The cells of sclerenchymatous cells can be classified as:

  1. Fibres- Fibres are long, elongated sclerenchymatous cells with pointed ends.
  2. Sclereids- Sclerenchymatous cells which are short and possess extremely thick, lamellated, lignified walls with long singular piths. They are called sclereids.

The main function of Sclerenchymatous tissues is to give support to the plant. Provides hardness and protective covering to seed and nuts


The entire surface of the plant consists of a single layer of cells called epidermis or surface tissue. The entire surface of the plant has this outer layer of epidermis. Hence it is also called surface tissue. Most of the epidermal cells are relatively flat. The outer and lateral walls of the cell are often thicker than the inner walls. The cells forms a continuous sheet without inter cellular spaces. It protects all parts of the plant.

Complex permanent tissue

The complex tissue consists of more than one type of cells which work together as a unit. Complex tissues help in the transportation of organic material, water and minerals up and down the plants. That is why it is also known as conducting and vascular tissue. The common types of complex permanent tissue are:

  • Xylem or wood
  • Phloem or bast.

Xylem and phloem together form vascular bundles.


Xylem consists of:

  • Tracheid
  • Vessel Members
  • Xylem fibers
  • Xylem parenchyma.

Xylem is a chief, conducting tissue of vascular plants. It is responsible for conduction of water and mineral ions/salt.

Xylem is a very important plant tissue as it is part of the 'plumbing system' of a plant. Think of bundles of pipes running along the main axis of stems and roots. It carries water and dissolved substances throughout and consists of a combination of parenchyma cells, fibers, vessels, tracheids and ray cells. Long tubes made up of individual cells are the vessels Tracheae, while vessel members are open at each end. Internally, there may be bars of wall material extending across the open space. These cells are joined end to end to form long tubes. Vessel members and tracheids are dead at maturity. Tracheids have thick secondary cell walls and are tapered at the ends. They do not have end openings such as the vessels. The tracheids ends overlap with each other, with pairs of pits present. The pit pairs allow water to pass from cell to cell. While most conduction in the xylem is up and down, there are some side-to-side or lateral conduction via rays. Rays are horizontal rows of long-living parenchyma cells that arise out of the vascular cambium. In trees, and other woody plants, ray will radiate out from the center of stems and roots and in cross-section will look like the spokes of a wheel.


Phloem consists of:

Phloem is an equally important plant tissue as it also is part of the 'plumbing system' of a plant. Primarily, phloem carries dissolved food substances throughout the plant. This conduction system is composed of sieve-tube member and companion cells, that are without secondary walls. The parent cells of the vascular cambium produce both xylem and phloem. This usually also includes fibers, parenchyma and ray cells. Sieve tubes are formed from sieve-tube members laid end to end. The end walls, unlike vessel members in xylem, do not have openings. The end walls, however, are full of small pores where cytoplasm extends from cell to cell. These porous connections are called sieve plates. In spite of the fact that their cytoplasm is actively involved in the conduction of food materials, sieve-tube members do not have nuclei at maturity. It is the companion cells that are nestled between sieve-tube members that function in some manner bringing about the conduction of food. Sieve-tube members that are alive contain a polymer called callose, a carbohydrate polymer, forming the callus pad/callus, the colourless substance that covers the sieve plate. Callose stays in solution as long at the cell contents are under pressure. Phloem transports food and materials in plants upwards and downwards as required.

See also


  • Raven, Peter H., Evert, Ray F., & Eichhorn, Susan E. (1986). Biology of Plants (4th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers. ISBN 0-87901-315-X.

External links

  • List of tissues in ExPASy
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