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Human body tissue consists of groups of cells with a similar structure working together for a specific function. There are four main types of tissue in a body. Learn more about them and take a short quiz at the end of this lesson.

What is Human Body Tissue

If you were to try to explain to someone what your body is made of, you might say two arms, two legs, feet and hands, a head and a torso. Or, you might go to the other extreme and say that you are made up of billions of cells. Both answers would be correct.

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However, there is a more specific way to describe what makes up a body. We are composed of several different types of human body tissue. But what exactly does that mean?Human body tissue is another way of describing how our cells are grouped together in a highly organized manner according to specific structure and function. These groupings of cells form tissues, which then make up organs and various parts of the body.

For example, it’s easy to see and feel muscle in the body. Muscle is one of the four types of human body tissue. In this lesson, learn more about the types of tissue and how each functions for a different purpose.

The Types of Tissue

We have determined that we are made up of four different types of tissue. In addition to muscle tissue, we have connective, epithelial and nervous tissue in the body. So, how are these tissue types different? Let’s zoom in on each one to better understand.

Types of Tissue in Human Body
Cell Structure of Muscle Tissue
Various Configurations of Epithelial Tissue
Epithelial tissue

Connective Tissue

As its name suggests, connective tissue makes up a connective web inside our body.

Holding our body parts together and providing support are the main jobs of this tissue. We would certainly not be in good shape if all of our internal body parts were free-floating. Connective tissue fills in the spaces inside our body with a matrix made of fibers within a liquid, solid, or jelly-like substance. Think of a gelatin salad with fruit suspended inside, and you will have an idea of how certain types of connective tissue function.

Nervous Tissue

Nervous tissue is found within the nervous system and is made up of unique specialized cells.

Like electrical circuits, the nervous system transmits signals from nerves to the spinal cord and brain. Cells known as neurons conduct these impulses, making it possible for us to use our senses.

Neuron with Supporting Tissue
Nervous tissue

Examples of Body Tissue

You already know many examples of tissue found in the body. Muscle tissue is found in all of the obvious places, as in our biceps, triceps, quadriceps and so on. But muscle is also located in many of our internal organs, such as the walls of our arteries and digestive tract.

And don’t forget about the most important muscle of all: the heart. Cardiac tissue is also muscle tissue, as this powerful organ is constantly contracting to pump blood throughout our body.Epithelial tissue, as previously mentioned, is found both covering our body and lining some organs. For example, our outer layer of skin is made of epithelial tissue.

This sheet of epithelial tissue is like a permanent waterproof coat for our body. It protects us from potential invaders like viruses and keeps our body from losing moisture. The lining of the mouth and esophagus are also examples of epithelial tissue.Connective tissue comes in several different forms. The most abundant in the body is loose connective tissue, and it is found filling the spaces in our body. For example, if you pull on your skin it will stretch, but only so far.

The connective tissue underneath it keeps it attached so that our skin isn’t flopping around. Fat tissue is another example of connective tissue, as it provides cushioning and support.

Adipose, or Fat Tissue
Muscle tissue types
Muscle Tissue Epithelial Tissue Connective Tissue Nervous Tissue
Excitable cells ready for contraction, gathered in bundles Epithelial cells joined tightly together in a sheet Fibers within a liquid, solid, or jelly-like substance Unique specialized cells
example: Muscles example: Skin example: Fat example: Spinal Cord

Learning Outcomes

As this lesson ends, determine your readiness to do these things:

  • Write the definition of human body tissue
  • List and expound upon the four types of tissue

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