Animal Embryology and Histology

« Return


This CU aims to provide a basic training in the domains of the embryology, structure and organization of biological tissues. The knowledge of both scientific areas will be a fundamental prerequisite for the understanding of organographies and functioning of organs and systems, topics that will be covered in the CUs of 6th semester.

Learning outcomes:

1. To recognize the purposes of the study of embryology and histology;

2. To master the handling of the light microscope;

3. To know and apply the histological lexicon;

4. To distinguish the various stages of embryonic development and the processes involved in each one;

5. To relate the embryogenesis process with the differentiation of the various tissues;

6. To recognize the several tissue-types as cellular and structural organizations with particular characteristics;

7. Establish relations between the tissues structure and function;

8. Be able to identify and describe different tissues in histological sections.


1. Embryology

Gametogenesis: spermatogenesis and oogenesis

Fertilization: the activation of development.

Cleavage: patterns and types.


2. Histology

2.1. Epithelial tissue: epithelial apical specializations and maintenance of epithelial integrity; covering and glandular epithelia.

2.2. Connective tissue: cellular and matrix constituents; loose, dense regular and irregular connective tissue, reticular connective tissue and adipose tissue.

2.3. Cartilaginous tissue: bone matrix and cellular types; hyaline and elastic cartilage, and fibrocartilage.

2.4. Bone tissue: matrix and cellular types; general organization of bone tissue; endochondral and intramembranous ossification.

2.5. Blood tissue: blood plasma and cellular elements.

2.6. Muscle tissue: general characteristics and muscle contraction; skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle tissue.

2.7. Nervous tissue: neurons and neuroglia cells; synapses; nerve structure; central and peripheral nervous system.

Teaching Methodologies

Nas aulas teóricas os vários temas programáticos são explorados no domínio conceptual, embora sempre com materialização dos conceitos através de imagens de microscopia ótica e eletrónica, enquanto nas aulas práticas é privilegiado o contacto do estudante com os materiais e meios de ensino (lâminas histológicas e microscópios) e a interação com o docente.


FAWCETT D.W. 1994. Bloom and Fawcett, A textbook of histology. Chapman & Hall, New York, 964 pp.

GARTNER L.P. & J.L. HIATT. 2001. Colour textbook of histology, 2nd ed., W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 577 pp.

GONÇALVES C. & V. BAIROS. 2006. Histologia, texto e imagens. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, 423 pp.

JUNQUEIRA L.C. & J. CARNEIRO. 2005. Basic Histology, text & atlas. McGraw-Hill, New York, 502 pp.

ROSS M.H. & W. PAWLINA. 2006. Histology, a text and atlas with correlated cell and molecular biology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 906 pp.

GILBERT S.F. 1997. Biologia do desenvolvimento, 5ª ed., FUNPEC Editora, Ribeirão Preto, SP. 563 pp.

GILBERT S.F. & RAUNIO A.M. 1997. Embryology: Constructing the Organism. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. 536 pp.

WOLPERT L., BEDDINGTON R., BROCKESJ., JESSELL T., LAWRENCE P., MEYEROWITZ E. 2000. Princípios de Biologia do Desenvolvimento. Editora Artmed, Porto Alegre. 484 pp.



ECTS Credits



  • Práticas e Laboratórios - 45 hours
  • Teóricas - 30 hours

Evaluation Methodology

  • Practical component: 30%
  • Theoretical component: 70%