83151 - Histology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

Describe the structure and functional organization of tissues at a cellular and subcellular level.

Course contents

Learning outcomes: At the end of the course the student will have acquired basic informations required to understand the morpho-functional bases of the organization of the different organs of the human body. It will illustrate how the cell structures are modified in the process of differentiation to generate cells specific for each tissue and how these modifications guide the physiological functions of the tissues. More specifically, the student will acquire the knowledge necessary to perform microscopic observations and on the general organization of the different organs of the human body

Objectives: Essential knowledge of the organizational levels of human body: cells, tissues, organs, apparatus and organisms. Differentiation and histogenesis.

Program: Tissues - Characteristics of connective, epithelial, muscular, bone and nervous tissue.


Epithelial tissue: Embryonic derivation. Classification. Morpho-functional characteristics. Classification, cytological features and epithelial cell properties.

Covering epithelium: Structure, functions, classification and distribution. Membrane molecules, junction complexes, adhesion molecule relationships and cytoskeletal elements. Keratinization mechanisms and cell types that co-operate with keratinocytes. Basal membrane structure. Regeneration.

Glandular epithelium: Characteristics of secreting cells and embryonic stem cells of different glands. General concepts of exocrine, endocrine, autocrine and paracrine secretion. Types of hormones.

Exocrine glandular epithelium: Classification, structural organization, distribution and function of exocrine glands (parenchyma and stroma). Unicellular and multicellular glands. Classification based on location and form of adenomers.

Endocrine glandular epithelium: Classification, structural organization, distribution and functions of Endocrine Glands

Connective tissue: Embryonic derivation, organization, structural and functional characteristics. Extracellular matrix, proteoglycans and glycoproteins. Fibrillary component: collagen and elastic fibers. Organization and composition of the basal membrane. Intrinsic and extrinsic connective cellular component: fibroblasts, pericytes, endothelial cells, macrophages, mast cells, plasmacellules and adipocytes.

Connective tissue proper: Classification. Mucous, fibrillar, reticular and dense tissue. Connettive dense tissue. Adipose tissue. White fat cells (unilocular) and brown fat cells (Multilocular).

Support connective tissue: Structure, distribution, function and classification. Hyaline, fibrous, elastic and articular cartilage. Calcification of cartilage. Mechanisms of the chondrogenesis and role of cartilage patterns of bone skeletal segments.

Bone tissue: Mechanisms of osteogenesis (primitive and secondary). General organization. Flat, short and long bones. Lamellar and non lamellar bone tissue. Compact and spongy bone tissue. Role of different cellular elements (osteoblasts, osteocytes and osteoclasts) in bone remodeling. Periosteum and Endosteum. Bone matrix. Periosteum and Endosteum. Direct and indirect ossification. Bone turnover. Mineralization of osteoid (molecular and cellular mechanisms).

Blood, hemopoiesis and differentiation lines: Function and composition of the blood. Plasma and figurative elements (red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets). Coagulation. Structural organization and functions of myeloid and lymphoid hemopoietic tissue

Muscle tissue: Embryonic derivation. Classification, distribution, structural and functional characteristics. Characteristics and classification of contractile cells.

Smooth muscular tissue: Morphological and functional aspects of smooth muscle cells and its mechanism and contraction function. Regeneration.

Striated muscular tissue (skeletal and cardiac): Shape, size, origin and structure of skeletal streaked fibrocells: myofibratic structure, muscle-dependent proteins, and contraction mechanism. Role of sarcolemma, sarcoplasma and sarcoplasmic reticulum. Organization of skeletal muscles. Myocardial size and structure

Nervous tissue: Embryonic derivation. Structural and functional organization of the nervous tissue. Structural organization of neuronal and glial cells in central and peripheral nervous tissue. Neurons: shapes, size and structure. The nerve fibers. Mechanisms of neurosecretion (axonal flow and synapse). Structure of myelin and sheath. The structure and function of the synapses. Glia: morphology and functions. Mechanisms of the onset and transmission of the nervous impulse.


  1. Textbook of Histology - L. Gartner

  2. Histology and Cell Biology: An Introduction to Pathology- Abraham L. Kierszenbaum

  3. Histology: A Text and Atlas: With Correlated Cell and Molecular Biology - Michael H., Ph.D. Ross and M.D. Pawlina Wojciech

The students will also be guided toward a critical use of internet-assisted documentation and histological archives of italian universities.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons and open discussion.

Attendance Requirements: Attendance to this learning activity is mandatory; the minimum attendance requirement to be admitted to the final exam is 60% of lessons. For Integrated Courses (IC), the 60% attendance requirement refers to the total amount of I.C. lessons. Students who fail to meet the minimum attendance requirement will not be admitted to the final exam of the course and will have to attend relevant classes again during the next academic year. Professors may authorize excused absences upon receipt of proper justifying documentation, in case of illness or serious reasons. Excused absences do not count against a student’s attendance record to determine their minimum attendance requirement.

Assessment methods

The students will be evaluated by written exam, with multiple choice tests on the EOL - Exam OnLine Platftorm. During the written test, a mark scoring from 0 to 6 will be displayed next to the relevant question.The final mark is given by the arithmetic sum of the scores from each answered question. Wrong answers or missing answers will score as 0.

Interpretation of the score:

  • <18 failure, not scored. The student fails to satisfactorily address all of the questions.
  • 18 Poor. The student inadequately addresses most of the questions with serious inherent weaknesses.
  • 21 Fair. The student broadly addresses most of the questions, but there are significant weaknesses.
  • 24 Good. The student addresses the questions well, but a number of shortcomings are present.
  • 27 Very good. The student addresses the criterion very well, but a small number of shortcomings are present.
  • 30 Excellent. The student successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the questions. Any shortcomings are minor.
  • 30 cum laude. The student successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the questions with no shortcomings.

The final score will be a "weighted average mark":

Teaching tools

Lessons power-point presentations on specific subjects will be posted on line

Office hours

See the website of Mattia Lauriola