The Kinetic Organisation of Tissues

  • B. Ansari
  • P. A. Hall


It is clear that there are significant advantages in an organism being multicellular, in particular as a consequence of increased specialisation of its component parts. The cost of this lies in the considerable investment in the molecular and cellular machinery required to regulate the organisation of the cells that make up metazoa. For example, in normal tissues of metazoan organisms the number of cells with any particular phenotype is very carefully controlled (Hall and Watt 1989a; Hall 1989). In the development of an organism from a fertilised egg there are three key requirements. First, a carefully regulated increase in cell numbers coupled with, second, the differentiation of the appropriate cell types which are, thirdly, arranged in the appropriate spatial organisation. In the adult organism there remains a continuing need to carefully define cell numbers and phenotypes and to form these cells into highly ordered tissues with characteristic spatial and kinetic organisation (see for example Wright and Alison 1984). This is, in part, determined by the proliferative activity of progenitor cell populations within these tissues, but also by the number of growth-arrested cells, loss of cells into terminally differentiated populations and by programmed cell death or apoptosis. The ordered aggregates of cells that form tissues are homeostatically regulated and are capable of responding to diverse insults, with the maintenance of tissue integrity. The balance between proliferative and non-proliferative behaviour is very carefully regulated, there being genes involved in growth arrest as well as the better characterised genes involved in mitogenesis. Many aspects of pathology derive from alterations in the regulation of these processes. Consequently an understanding of regulation of cell numbers and the control of differentiation in these cells is central to our understanding of normal development, adult tissues and the pathological processes that affect them.


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© Springer-Verlag London 1992

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  • B. Ansari
  • P. A. Hall

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