Tissue (biology)

In biology, tissue is a cellular organizational level between cells and a complete organ. A tissue is an ensemble of similar cells and their extracellular matrix from the same origin that together carry out a specific function. Organs are then formed by the functional grouping together of multiple tissues.

Microscopic view of a histologic specimen of human lung tissue stained with hematoxylin and eosin.

The English word "tissue" derives from the French word "tissue", meaning that something that is "woven", from the past participle of the verb tisser, "to weave".

The study of human and animal tissues is known as histology or, in connection with disease, as histopathology. In plants, tissues are studied in both plant anatomy and physiology. The classical tools for studying tissues are the paraffin block in which tissue is embedded and then sectioned, the histological stain, and the optical microscope. Developments in electron microscopy, immunofluorescence, and the use of frozen tissue-sections have enhanced the detail that can be observed in tissues. With these tools, the classical appearances of tissues can be examined in health and disease, enabling considerable refinement of medical diagnosis and prognosis.