Organs are composed of main tissue, parenchyma, and "sporadic" tissues, stroma. The main tissue is that which is unique for the specific organ, such as the myocardium, the main tissue of the heart, while sporadic tissues include the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. The main tissues that make up an organ tend to have common embryologic origins, such as arising from the same germ layer. Functionally-related organs often cooperate to form whole organ systems. Organs exist in all organisms. In single-celled organisms such as bacteria, the functional analogue of an organ is known as an organelle. In plants there are three main organs. A hollow organ is a visceral organ that forms a hollow tube, or pouch such as the stomach, intestine, or bladder.
In the study of anatomy, the term viscus is used to refer to an internal organ, and viscera is the plural form. 79 organs have been identified in the human body.
In biology, tissue is a cellular organizational level between cells and complete organs. A tissue is an ensemble of similar cells and their extracellular matrix from the same origin that together carry out a specific function. Organs are then formed by the functional grouping together of multiple tissues.
The study of human and animal tissues is known as histology or, in connection with disease, histopathology. For plants, the discipline is called plant anatomy. The classical tools for studying tissues are the paraffin block in which tissue is embedded and then sectioned, the histological stain, and the optical microscope. In the last couple of decades, developments in electron microscopy, immunofluorescence, and the use of frozen tissue sections have enhanced the detail that can be observed in tissues. With these tools, the classical appearances of tissues can be examined in health and disease, enabling considerable refinement of medical diagnosis and prognosis.
Two or more organs working together in the execution of a specific body function form an organ system, also called a biological system or body system. The functions of organ systems often share significant overlap. For instance, the nervous and endocrine system both operate via a shared organ, the hypothalamus. For this reason, the two systems are combined and studied as the neuroendocrine system. The same is true for the musculoskeletal system because of the relationship between the muscular and skeletal systems.