Common Human Anatomy and Physiology Terms and Definitions


anchoring junction – are cell junctions that are attached to one another; attached to structures of the extracellular matrix

apical – refers to the top surface

basal – refers to the bottom surface

blast – word which means to produce, as in osteoblast

bone cell matrix – composed of collagen fibers and calcium phosphate salts

calcium phosphate – is a mineral found in the bone

canaliculi – are passages that allow blood and bone cells to communicate

cardiac muscle tissue – muscle tissue found in the heart which is branched and striated; it has dark line between cells which is called an intercalated disc

cellular layer – layer of periosteum where the osteoblast can be found

central canal – bone canal which the blood vessels and nerves can be found

chondrocytes – also known as the cartilage cells

chondroitin sulfate – is a chemical found in cartilage

collagen – is the most abundant protein found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons

collagen fiber – a fiber which gives strength

columnar – refers to column-shaped; as in columnar epithelium

compact tissue bone – tissue found on the surface of the bone

cross section – section which cuts across the short dimension

cuboidal – refers to cube-shaped, as in cuboidal epithelium

dendrites – part of nerve cell that receives stimulus

differentiation – the process by which undifferentiated cell becomes more specific type of cell

ectoderm – early development tissue that differentiate into nerve cells, neuroglial cell, brain, spinal cord, nerves, epidermis of skin

elastic fiber – a biological fiber that provides elasticity

endoderm – early development tissue that differentiate into internal linings of respiratory tract and digestive system

epithelial tissue – body tissue with a free surface that acts as a barrier; composed of closely packed cells and has the ability to regenerate

fibrous layer – layer of periosteum made up of collagen

frontal section – section that splits the frontal and the dorsal region; also called coronal section

glial cells – are cells that help and assist the activity of nerve cells

Haversian canal – the central canal in bone

Haversian system – also called the osteon

histamine – a compound which promotes blood flow and capillary permeability

homeostasis – regulation of a relatively constant internal environment in response to changes from the external environment

internal environment – compose of extracellular fluid (plasma, interstitial fluid); the environment around the cell

lacunae – bone cavity where osteocytes can be found
lamellae – the matrix of the bone

longitudinal section – section which cuts down the longest dimension

mast cell – white blood cell that releases histamine and causes inflammation

mesoderm – early development tissue that differentiate into kidney, liver, muscles, and bones

microvilli – minute projections from the surface of some cells which increases the surface area and can be found in digestive tracts

midsagittal section – section that splits right and left region equally

mitosis – is the process of cell division

monocytes – while blood cells that give rise to macrophages and dendritic cells

nerve fibers – also called the axon of nerve cells

organ – group tissues that has a specific function such as heart or lungs

organ system – group of organs that work together to perform a specific function such as skeletal system or muscular system

organism – group of organ system working together for common function such as human or an animal

osteoblast – a bone cell responsible for production of bone tissue matrix; involves in bone growth, repair, and remodeling

osteoclast – bone cell responsible for breaking down of bone tissue

osteocyte – bone cell responsible for the maintenance of bone tissue

osteon – unit structure of thick compact bone tissue

osteoprogenitor cell – the bone stem cell which differentiate into osteoblast and osteocyte

parasagittal section – section that splits right and left regions unequally

periosteum – a dense layer of vascular connective tissue surrounding the bones except at the surfaces of the joints

phagocytosis – the process of engulfing materials and bacteria by a cell

pseudostratified – refers to a single layer but looks many, as in pseudostratified epithelium

red bone marrow – bone marrow responsible for the production of red blood cell and white blood cell

sagittal section – section that splits the right and left regions

secretion – the process of releasing substances by a cell into the internal environment or into body cavities or ducts

simple – refers to one layer, as in simple squamous epithelium

skeletal muscle tissue – muscle tissue which is striated and voluntary

smooth muscle tissue – muscle tissue which is not branched in appearance but has a spindle-shaped structure; also called involuntary muscle tissue

spongy bones – also called cancellous which is located within bones; consist of branching plates called trabeculae

squamous – refers to flat, as in simple squamous epithelium

stereocilia – mechano-sensing organelles of hair cells found in inner ear

stratified – refers to many layers, as in stratified epithelium

tissue – group of cells that perform a specific function

trabeculae – the branching plates found in spongy bones

transitional epithelium – epithelium that can be stretched and unstretched; found in the linings of urinary bladder and ureters

transverse section – section that splits the upper from lower regions; also called cross section

yellow bone marrow – bone marrow made up of fats

zygote – a cell that results from the fusion of sperm cell and ovum


Leave a Reply