Nervous and Muscular Tissue Excitable Tissues


When you have completed this section, you should be able to

  • explain what distinguishes excitable tissues from other tissues;
  • name the cell types that compose nervous tissue;

Chapter 5 Histology 175

  • identify the major parts of a nerve cell;
  • visually recognize nervous tissue from specimens or photographs;
  • name the three kinds of muscular tissue and describe the differences between them; and
  • visually identify any type of muscular tissue from specimens or photographs.

Excitability is a characteristic of all living cells, but it is developed to its highest degree in nervous and muscular tissue, which are therefore described as excitable tissues. The basis for their excitation is an electrical charge difference (voltage) called the membrane potential, which occurs across the plasma membranes of all cells. Nervous and muscular tissues respond quickly to outside stimuli by means of changes in membrane potential. In nerve cells, these changes result in the rapid transmission of signals to other cells. In muscle cells, they result in contraction, or shortening of the cell.

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    What distinguishes excitable tissues from other tissues?
    3 years ago

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