Help with Histology

  1. Hi everyone, I'm in A&P right now and we have our first lab practical coming up, and it's on histology.
    We have to distinguish between simple squamous epithelial, stratified cuboidal, etc. and the pictures in my book and on the PP look different but when I look under the microscope all the slides look the exact same to me
    Can anyone give me some tips that they used? I feel like I will fail this practical miserably and I'm feeling frustrated
    Memorization is easy to me but these microscope slides just look identical.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   ~♪♫ in my ♥~
    Really, squamous and cuboidal cells look exactly the same to you? To me, squamous look squished and cuboidal look, well, cuboidal (squarish, actually, since it's 2D).

    Do you have a histology atlas that you can look at? Alternatively, find a pix on the web, print them, and then measure the cells diagonally... cubes will have roughly equal diagonals while squames will not.

    What you need most, though, is more microscope time - especially on one with a display so that your teacher can point things out to you.

    Have you posed this question directly to your teacher and asked for assistance?
  4. by   thatgirl2478
    So first of all, look for the 'basement membrane' and the 'free surface'.

    If you see one layer of cells (like a single layer of bricks) with their bottoms on the basement membrane and their tops as the 'free surface' (aka apical), you have simple epithilium. Then look at the placement of the nucleus - if it's flattened, its squamous, if it's in the center, it's probably cuboidal, if it's closer to one end than the other its columnar.

    If there's more than one layer of cells between the basement membrane and the free surface, then it's stratified. Shape is determined at the free surface.
  5. by   hurricanekat
    I just did this in lab tonight. Its hard when you don't really know what you are looking at. I looked at cilia and couldn't see it at all. Our instructor told us tonight that stratified cuboidal didn't occur often and we really wouldn't see it. I then asked how to tell the difference between simple squamous and stratified squamous. The answer was that you always see it from the transverse plane - looking down on it. That helped - but I still am not sure what I'm looking at. I honestly think its just going to take time for us to figure this out. There are so many little things in there - my eyes hurt and are so blurry from having my face in a microscope for 3 hours. Our instructor walks around class and helps point things out when we can't find it. He also told us about a youtube channel called Dr.StephenLarsen who shows all kinds of short videos of slides and points things out. They are all around 2 min or less. I haven't had a chance to look - but it looks like what we need to be able to look at it while someone points out what we are really looking at. Good Luck!!! I'm not loving the microscope!!!
  6. by   AmyAnn00
    Quote from ~♪♫ in my ♥~
    Really, squamous and cuboidal cells look exactly the same to you? To me, squamous look squished and cuboidal look, well, cuboidal (squarish, actually, since it's 2D).

    Do you have a histology atlas that you can look at? Alternatively, find a pix on the web, print them, and then measure the cells diagonally... cubes will have roughly equal diagonals while squames will not.

    What you need most, though, is more microscope time - especially on one with a display so that your teacher can point things out to you.

    Have you posed this question directly to your teacher and asked for assistance?
    Maybe I'm not properly focusing the microscope? I don't really see enough detail to see the square shape of cuboidal or the shape of columnar. I have looked on the web but it doesn't really look that similar to the slides I used in class, and our slides are in black and white and harder to see detail - most slides online are in pink/purple. My text book only has drawings of the tissues not actual slide images. I have only had 2 labs so far and my practical is 2 weeks away so maybe I just need to see more slides and practice more. I have also spoken to my instructor, but he just mentioned the shape once again but it's not really helpful when they look identical to you. I will try and ask again and see if my microscope is correctly focused.
  7. by   AmyAnn00
    Quote from thatgirl2478
    So first of all, look for the 'basement membrane' and the 'free surface'.

    If you see one layer of cells (like a single layer of bricks) with their bottoms on the basement membrane and their tops as the 'free surface' (aka apical), you have simple epithilium. Then look at the placement of the nucleus - if it's flattened, its squamous, if it's in the center, it's probably cuboidal, if it's closer to one end than the other its columnar.

    If there's more than one layer of cells between the basement membrane and the free surface, then it's stratified. Shape is determined at the free surface.
    Thank you, this was helpful! I have trouble locating the basement membrane though - is it the darker area around the bottom of the slide? I was looking for the square shape around the nucleus not at the actual nucleus itself.
  8. by   AmyAnn00
    Quote from hurricanekat
    I just did this in lab tonight. Its hard when you don't really know what you are looking at. I looked at cilia and couldn't see it at all. Our instructor told us tonight that stratified cuboidal didn't occur often and we really wouldn't see it. I then asked how to tell the difference between simple squamous and stratified squamous. The answer was that you always see it from the transverse plane - looking down on it. That helped - but I still am not sure what I'm looking at. I honestly think its just going to take time for us to figure this out. There are so many little things in there - my eyes hurt and are so blurry from having my face in a microscope for 3 hours. Our instructor walks around class and helps point things out when we can't find it. He also told us about a youtube channel called Dr.StephenLarsen who shows all kinds of short videos of slides and points things out. They are all around 2 min or less. I haven't had a chance to look - but it looks like what we need to be able to look at it while someone points out what we are really looking at. Good Luck!!! I'm not loving the microscope!!!
    Thanks for your comment I'm glad I'm not the only one struggling lol! Our instructor also told us he probably wouldn't test us on simple squamous just because it's flat and hard to see. I've only had 2 lab sessions so far, I'm just used to getting subjects straight away. I've had trouble with microscopes since high school, I could never get the darn thing to focus. And every time I look away and look back it seems like the slide looks different. Thanks for the YouTube tip I will look into it!
  9. by   thatgirl2478
    Quote from AmyAnn00
    Thank you, this was helpful! I have trouble locating the basement membrane though - is it the darker area around the bottom of the slide? I was looking for the square shape around the nucleus not at the actual nucleus itself.
    Ususally it will be darker - may not be toward the bottom though! If you look for the positioning of the nucleus within the cell, that's often the key.

    But yeah, I HATED the histology section of A&P.

    If you can get more practice with the microscope that will help too
  10. by   xxstarrynitesxx
    Quote from AmyAnn00
    Hi everyone, I'm in A&P right now and we have our first lab practical coming up, and it's on histology.
    We have to distinguish between simple squamous epithelial, stratified cuboidal, etc. and the pictures in my book and on the PP look different but when I look under the microscope all the slides look the exact same to me
    Can anyone give me some tips that they used? I feel like I will fail this practical miserably and I'm feeling frustrated
    Memorization is easy to me but these microscope slides just look identical.
    I am not sure if this will reach you in time, but for my first semester A&P course my professor required us to make flashcards. We were provided with the images, but had to label different parts. I also took pictures of each of the slides at the various magnifications with my lab partner so we could look over them at home using slides we would be potentially tested on. I thought I had failed the practicum, but wound up getting close to a perfect score.

    You will see histology again if you take the second semester. Look up labeled pictures online, in your textbook, or videos on Youtube. My professor would do a "tour" of the slides for us after we had a chance to look at them ourselves. I personally took video of the screen to watch later.

    Lastly, go to any open labs that are available. Sometimes you can get help from your professor. Really make sure to spend as much time with the slides as possible and move all around the slide.
  11. by   KrCmommy522
    Here are some good sources that might help you study for the lab practical:
    Histology Tutor
    Histology Guide
    LUMEN Histology home page

    You can see them close up under the microscope, which helps. The last link also has "Lab Practical" links that you can click on that quiz you. The first link has close up images under the microscope and labels things you can look for. The middle link has where you can zoom in or out on the images under the microscope.

    This is another good source:
    http://www2.highlands.edu/academics/.../histology.pdf

    Good luck! Hope this helps some!
  12. by   AmyAnn00
    Quote from thatgirl2478
    Ususally it will be darker - may not be toward the bottom though! If you look for the positioning of the nucleus within the cell, that's often the key.

    But yeah, I HATED the histology section of A&P.

    If you can get more practice with the microscope that will help too
    Thank you so much for your help! I agree, histology is incredibly boring to me, hopefully I enjoy the other chapters more!
  13. by   AmyAnn00
    Quote from xxstarrynitesxx
    I am not sure if this will reach you in time, but for my first semester A&P course my professor required us to make flashcards. We were provided with the images, but had to label different parts. I also took pictures of each of the slides at the various magnifications with my lab partner so we could look over them at home using slides we would be potentially tested on. I thought I had failed the practicum, but wound up getting close to a perfect score.

    You will see histology again if you take the second semester. Look up labeled pictures online, in your textbook, or videos on Youtube. My professor would do a "tour" of the slides for us after we had a chance to look at them ourselves. I personally took video of the screen to watch later.

    Lastly, go to any open labs that are available. Sometimes you can get help from your professor. Really make sure to spend as much time with the slides as possible and move all around the slide.
    Thanks for your response, and no worries, my lab practical is not until Feb. 7th
    Our class begged my professor to show us images instead of use the microscope and surprisingly he agreed, so I'm not as worried now! I will try your flashcard idea, thank you so much!
    At the very least, it is only worth 20 points where as the bone practical is worth 80.
  14. by   AmyAnn00
    Quote from KrCmommy522
    Here are some good sources that might help you study for the lab practical:
    Histology Tutor
    Histology Guide
    LUMEN Histology home page

    You can see them close up under the microscope, which helps. The last link also has "Lab Practical" links that you can click on that quiz you. The first link has close up images under the microscope and labels things you can look for. The middle link has where you can zoom in or out on the images under the microscope.

    This is another good source:
    http://www2.highlands.edu/academics/.../histology.pdf

    Good luck! Hope this helps some!
    Thank you so much for the amazing links, you're awesome

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