Cells are organized into four basic types of tissues that perform specific functions (Fig. 4-4)
• Epithelial (ep-i-THE-le-al) tissue covers and protects body structures and lines organs, vessels, and cavities.
• Connective tissue supports and binds body structures. It contains fibers and other nonliving material between the cells. Included are adipose (fat) tissue, cartilage, bone (Chapter 19), and blood (Chapter 10).
• Muscle tissue (root my/o) contracts to produce movement. There are three types of muscle tissue:
• Skeletal or voluntary muscle moves the skeleton. Skeletal muscle is discussed in greater detail in Chapter 20.
• Cardiac muscle forms the heart. It functions without conscious control and is described as involuntary.
• Smooth, or visceral, muscle forms the walls of the abdominal organs; it is also involuntary.
• Nervous tissue (root neur/o) makes up the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It coordinates and controls body responses by the transmission of electrical impulses. The nervous system and senses are discussed in Chapters 17 and 18.
The simplest tissues are membranes. Mucous membranes secrete mucus, a thick fluid that lubricates surfaces and protects underlying tissue. Serous membranes, which secrete a thin, watery fluid, line body cavities and cover organs.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.