Histology Guide

virtual histology laboratory

Chapter 6 - Nervous Tissue

The nervous system is specialized for communication of information from one region of the body to another.

TThe neuron is the structural and functional unit of the nervous system. However, non-neural cells provide support and protection in the CNS (oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, ependymal cells and microglia) and the PNS (Schwann cells and satellite cells).


The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord.


Neurons have considerable variation in their size and shape.

MHS 284 Brain

(Golgi Stain)

MHS 283 Brain

(Nissl Substance)

Spinal Cord

The spinal cord functions primarily in the transmission of nerve signals between the brain and the body.

MH 047 Spinal Cord

MH 001 Nuclear Morphology

(motor neurons)

MHS 240 Spinal Cord


The peripheral nervous system (PNS) consists of ganglia and nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord.

Dorsal Root Ganglion

Dorsal root ganglia are clusters of nerve bodies of sensory neurons located alongside the spinal cord.

MH 047 Spinal Cord

MH 051 Dorsal Root Ganglion


MH 050 Dorsal Root Ganglion

Sympathetic Ganglion

Sympathetic ganglia form long chains on either side of the spinal cord. They deliver information about stress, impending danger, and the fight-or-flight response.

MH 047 Spinal Cord

MH 059 Sympathetic Ganglion

Parasympathetic Ganglion

Parasympathetic nerves have their nerve cell bodies in small ganglia located within the organ they innervate.

MH 109 Esophagus

MH 123 Colon

MHS 211 Pancreas

Peripheral Nerve

Peripheral nerves contain the axons of both motor and sensory neurons. They are surrounded by multiple layers of connective tissue.

MH 052 Peripheral Nerve

(longitudinal and cross sections)

MHS 239 Peripheral Nerve

(Masson's trichrome)

MH 024 Mesentery

Sensory Nerve Endings

The nervous system has a variety of specialized receptors. Meissner's and Pacinian corpuscles are two that can be readily seen by H&E.

MH 091 Thick Skin

(Meissner's and Pacinian corpuscles)

MH 091ahr Thick Skin

(Meissner's corpuscle)

MH 024 Mesentery

(Pacinian corpuscle)