The morphological, functional and pathological concept of tissue was born at the end of the 18th century. At the time, it was a physician named Xavier Bichat who pioneered it. He carried out precise and meticulous dissection work on animal organs, and it was through this method that he identified the essential constituents of these organs: tissues.
Another physician named Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694) had already given birth to microscopic anatomy a few decades earlier. He is considered the “father of histology” because he was the first to use the microscope to study tissue.
The term “Histology” did not appear until years later in 1819 when it was adopted by Mayer and Heusinger to define the science of tissue analysis under the microscope. All the microscopic observations made at that time showed that the nucleus is a constant element of the cell (Brown, 1850; Mirbel, 1831).
These observations also made it possible to develop the cell theory for plants by Scheinden in 1839 and for animals by Schwann in 1839. Virchow’s “omnis cellulae cellula” (any cell is derived from another cell) and Haeckel’s “oncogeny traces phylogeny” are also based on microscopic observations.
Descriptive discipline at its beginnings, histology today presents itself as a science allowing extremely
detailed and ultrastructural observations. The analysis of cell dynamics is also possible thanks to new methods. Indeed, cells are constantly multiplying, migrating and modifying their metabolic activity or disappearing. Thanks to special techniques such as histochemistry, immunomarking or in situ hybridization, modern histology connects the precise locations of microscopic elements to the events taking place in living organisms. It therefore allows a better understanding of physiology, but also a more precise perception of pathological abnormalities.