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Body Tissues



Cells are organized into functional groups that make up body tissues. Each organ of the body contains a combination of epithelial, connective, muscle, and nervous tissues with the types and amounts of the tissues determining the overall function of the organ. Epithelial tissue forms sheets of cells that act to protect organs and regulate secretion and absorption processes. Connective tissues are universal and diverse in structure and function. Their actions range from support and protection to providing a fluid transport system throughout the body. Muscle tissue and nervous tissue both generate signals using electrical impulses. Muscle tissues generate force and movement, and nervous tissue coordinates voluntary and involuntary body actions. Within tissues, cells can communicate via glands and cellular junctions, important for coordinating tissue activity, and ultimately organ functions.

At A Glance

  • The four main types of body tissues are epithelial, connective, muscle, and nervous.
  • Epithelial tissues are sheets of cells covering body surfaces and lining internal organs.
  • Connective tissue connects structures in the body to provide support for organs, store fat, and transport substances.
  • Muscle and nervous tissues rely on electrical activity to function. Muscle tissue generates force to provide movement, and nervous tissue is responsible for transmitting electrical and chemical signals throughout the body.
  • Cell junctions are sites of attachment between adjacent cells or tissues and are important for cellular communication, cellular transport, and cellular anchoring.
  • Glandular tissue, derived from epithelial tissue, secretes substances in the bloodstream or into a duct that leads out of the body or into an organ.
  • Membranes are sheets of epithelial and connective tissues that serve as organ coverings and cavity linings.