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Histology Review Part One

Well, in general, the histo practical should be the easiest part of histology.  You should be happy that this is also the most important.  I say that because there are no tricks.  Here is the information, if you learn it you will do well.  People who don’t do well on the practical do so because they haven’t spent enough time looking at their slides.  Be wary of short cuts (ie. videos, slice of life etc) because they don’t work regardless of the rumors you may hear.  There is no substitute for looking at your slides.  I know that this takes more time but you will learn it better so it is well worth it.  That is the best advice I can give you.  As far as this review goes, use it as a check list while you are looking at your slides.  I have listed the slide name and the structures on that slide that you should be able to identify along with some helpfull hints.  Good luck!

submandibular gland  (or sublingual but not parotid)


skin (thin, not palmar or plantar)



ileum (you can also use colon)


bladder (or ureter)


epididymis (human not primate)

Note: here is a hint about the pseudostratified epithelia, the above two examples are the only instances where you will see them therefore, if it does not have either cilia or stereocilia, IT IS NOT PSEUDOSTRATIFIED even if it looks like it might be! You will also never see cilia or stereocilia on any other epithelium therefore, to determine if it is pseudostratified, first look for either one of those two surface specializations. This is a constant rule so use it for your practical!


hyaline cartilage

developing membranous bone (fetal finger)

Note: One question that everyone seems to ask me is the difference between appositional, interstitial, direct and endochondrial bone formation.   I know it has nothing to do with your slides but since it is confusing I will mention it.  First, you are describing two separate things that is growth vs. bone formation.   They do not mean the same thing.  When talking about growth you use the terms appositional and intramembranous to describe it.  Appositional (bone and cartilage) is when cells (...blasts) move from the outside in and become (...cytes).   Interstitial (cartilage only) is when the chondrocytes divide within the middle of the cartilage and form isogeneous groups that eventually spread out.  Bone formation refers more to the embryology of bone.  Direct or intramembranous bone formation is what happens in the bone collar.  Bone is directly made from embryonic mesoderm.  Endochondrial bone formation is just what the name says, cartilage is made first then it turns to bone (indirect) and this is what is happening in the epiphyseal plate.

compact bone

ovary (this is one of his favorite things so know it well!)

elastic cartilage

nerve longitudinal section

nerve cross-section (on same slide as above)

cross section of spinal cord



Well, that is about 99.9% of what you will get on your practical so if you manage to learn all of that you will most certainly get an A.  Remember that the histo practical is an easy way to bring up your grade if you need to, so don’t miss out on the opportunity because you didn’t dedicate enough time to it.  The key to doing well is good time management which means being organized and also getting enough sleep.  That is the best thing you can do for yourself. 


Histology Review Part Two

 Well, here we go again!  In general, first and foremost make sure you can identify the organ.  That is the most important because you will get a lot of questions asking you to simply identify the organ and also, you will not be able to correctly identify the specific structures if you have no idea what organ you are in.   The best way to do this is to just compare all of the organs on low magnification first before you go looking for specific structures.  If there is a specific cell type, make damn sure you know what it secretes!  As far as the cumulative part, make sure that you know your epithelia really well.  Also, know the ovary inside and out because Dr. K loves that.  You might want to also review the collagen types in different tissues i.e. hyaline cartilage is type 2 (blue) while bone is type 1 (pink).  Maybe also the fetal finger.  Otherwise, focus mainly on the new stuff because that is what you will be questioned on the most.


blood vessels






Well, I think that about covers everything, or at least everything that I ever bothered to learn.  As usual, take good notes especially during Dr. K’s review.  Pay particular attention to the things that he mentions.   Anyway, I hope that this review helps.    If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me and if I can answer them I will. 

Good luck and don’t worry, I am sure that you will do fine! :)



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