Preliminary Reading : Histology

This reading is for all students in ANHB 2212, whether or not you have done ANHB 1101/1102.

The study of histology requires special preparation of material. This involves elaborate procedures, special equipment and expertise. There is indeed, a specialised branch that deals with this, often given the name "Histological Technique" or "Histotechnology". The School of Anatomy and Human Biology has an excellent setup, called "Cell Central", for this purpose. You will not come across this laboratory, as it is not in the 'teaching area' of the School.

The technical details are not core material for this unit. However, the preparation alters the material to some extent. For correct interpretation and understanding what we study, we do need to be aware of the general principles of these techniques. Even within these limits, we only need to know some commonly used methods which have a direct bearing on the study in ANHB 2212.

In the histology teaching lab (G.03), you will be using a microscope. Microscopy itself is an acquired skill, and it does take some time to be proficient in it. Fear not, you are expected to know only some basic and simple aspects of microscopy. Further, your study will also be aided by digital images taken through the microscope. In this case too, some fundamental concepts are essential to give you enough familiarity with the light microscope.

The following two links lead you to web-based PowerPoint files on these two topics. It is essential to read through them before the first lab. The illustrations used in these pages are photographs of equipment in our own School. This is especially helpful in the histology lab, as you will using the same model of the microscope.

Each link opens a new window. For opening in a new tab, right-click and select the "Open in a new tab" option.

Histological Technique

Using the microscope

To ensure that you have a grasp of the fundamental principles, some key points here are examinable. These are outlined in the self-assessment questions for Week 1.