This manual is a guide to work in the histology laboratory. Each topic is briefly introduced and this is followed by a list of slides, with commentary, to be studied in the laboratory period. The purpose of the manual is to enable the student to use time efficiently in the laboratory.

Course Overview

As the structural and functional relationships of various cells, tissues, and organs are considered throughout the course, always be aware of one simple concept: All of the tissues and organs of the body are composed of cells and the extracellular products of cells (the matrix). It is for this reason that we emphasize the basic components of cells and their matrices during the early portion of the course. With an understanding of the nature of the relationship between cells and their matrices, we can proceed to the study of the organization of these two components into the basic tissues of the body.

There are only four basic tissues in the body, although each category can be subdivided. In turn, the four basic tissues are organized into the various organs of the body, and these generally exist as interrelated functional units termed organ systems.

The four basic tissues of the body are:

  • Epithelium
  • Connective tissue
  • Muscle
  • Nervous tissue

Again, we emphasize: All of the organs of the body are composed of varying proportions of the four basic tissues, and each of the four basic tissues consists of cells and extracellular matrices. This simple concept is fundamental to the study of histology.


Any of following textbooks is recommended:

  • Histology, A Text and Atlas, 5th ed., Michael H. Ross and Wojciech Pawlina, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006
  • Basic Histology, Text and Atlas, 11th ed., Luiz Carlos Junqueira and Jose Carneiro, McGraw Hill, NY, 2005.
  • Histology and Cell Biology, an Introduction to Pathology, 2nd ed., Abraham L. Kierszenbaum, Mosby, 2007

Whichever of these you choose, it is advisable to read the appropriate material in preparation for lab and bring the histology text to lab.

Audio Visual Aids

The Columbia Histology Atlas of Microscopic Images consists of images of the class microscopic slide set as well as electron micrographs and diagrams. It includes labels that can be removed, short descriptions, randomized self-tests and a searchable glossary. The atlas can be accessed through Columbia with your UNI and password. The website address is: https://www1.columbia.edu/sec/itc/hs/medical/histology/

There are numerous online histology websites. Search for “histology” or “virtual histological slides” for these sources.

We would like to emphasize that the audio-visual aids are supplementary. It is essential that the audio-visual aids not replace work with your microscope, slide collection, and texts.


Dr. Patricia Spitalnik

Dr. Joan Witkin