Animal Tissues: Types, Structure & Function Video

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  • 0:00 Tissues
  • 0:29 Epithelial & Connective Tissue
  • 1:50 Muscular & Nervous Tissue
  • 3:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
Ever use tissues? Well, your body certainly does! Actually, four different kinds! They are the epithelial tissue, muscle tissue, nervous tissue, and connective tissue. This lesson goes over the basics of these tissues.


Tissues are great. They can be used when you're crying. You can grab a couple to wipe a mess away. Some are super soft for runny noses.

Oh, wait. Wrong tissues. This lesson is about animal tissues, a group of specialized cells and the intercellular substance around them that are adapted to work together in order to perform particular functions. The four major tissue types are epithelial, connective, muscular, and nervous tissue.

Epithelial & Connective Tissue

Epithelial tissue (epithelium) is a type of tissue that covers the body and lines the body's cavities and organs. The key words to understanding the major purpose of the epithelium are the words 'covering' and 'lining.' What do car covers or cargo liners do for a car? The cover serves to protect the outer surface of the car, no? And the cargo liner lines the inside of the car's cavity, the trunk, to protect it, too!

This is one major function of the epithelium, to act as a protective barrier against injury as well as attack from microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. Some epithelia also secrete substances like digestive juices, or they absorb nutrients, or they protect the body from water loss.

Tissue that supports, connects, or separates other tissues or organs of the body is known as connective tissue. There are many different types of connective tissue. For instance, fibrous connective tissue is strong and is found in things like ligaments, which connect bone to bone. It's like rope holding two things together. Loose connective tissue, on the other hand, holds organs like the skin in place. It functions like glue.

Many cells help comprise connective tissue, including fibroblasts, which help make collagen, and adipocytes, which help store fat.

Muscular & Nervous Tissue

Just like there are many different types of connective tissue, there are several muscle tissue types. Muscle tissue is a type of tissue that can impose movement by shortening or elongating as necessary. The three types of muscle tissue are skeletal, smooth, and cardiac.

Cardiac muscle is found in the heart and helps it beat. Skeletal muscle is muscle that is under voluntary control and helps move the body by changing the skeleton's position. Basically, if you're moving any part of your body by thinking about it, like your arms and legs, then it's all thanks to skeletal muscle affecting this movement.

Smooth muscle is muscle that is under involuntary control and helps comprise everything from your digestive tract to the walls of your blood vessels, among many other body parts. Essentially, it is the muscle of your internal organs, minus the heart. Skeletal and cardiac muscle have a striated (striped) appearance to them under the microscope, while smooth muscle does not.

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