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Histology Mnemonics For The USMLE And Other Medical Examinations

Epidermis layers


"Come, Let's Get Sun Burned":


· From superficial to deep: Corneum Lucidum Granulosum Spinosum Basale [Germinativum]

· Alternatively: "Can Lori Get Some Gas?"

· Alternatively: "Can Little Girls Speak German?"

· Alternatively: "Can Larry Get Some Beer


Basophil morphology

Basophil has Big Blue Balls (granules


Erythropoiesis stages

"Powerful Businesses Pollute Our Reeling Environment": Proerythroblast

Basophilic erythroblast

Polychromatic erythroblast

Orthochromatophilic erythroblast




Muscle sarcomere bands

"ZIA Had Muscles":

· From the Z disk, working inward, remembering symmetry: Z I A H M H A I Z.

· Alternatively: "Zoe Is A Horny Momma".


Cochlea chambers: ones with perilymph vs. endolymph

PerI- ones also end with 'I': vestibulI and tympanI.

Therefore, perilymph is in scala vestibuli and scala tympani, and the endolymph is in the scala media.


Pituitary: anterior pituitary products: acidophilic vs basophilic

· Acidophilic: GPA: Growth hormone Prolactin Acidophilic

· Basophilic: B-FLAT Basophilic FSH LH ACTH TSH


Schwann cell only myelinates 1 axon

SchWANN = sounds like ONE. A single Schwann cell only myelinates one PNS axon.


Muscle cells: cardiac vs. skeletal's nuclei location/number

Nuclei location mirrors where the muscle is located in human body. Heart muscle is in the middle of body, so heart muscle has nucleus in middle. Skeletal muscles are at periphery of body, so nuclei are at periphery.

Also, you have 1 heart, so usually only 1 nucleus per heart muscle cell, but have many skeletal muscles, so have many nuclei per long fibre.


Adrenal cortex layers [for Florida Gator fans]

"Gator Football Rocks!":

· From outside inwards: Glomerulosa Fasciculata Reticularis


Mast cell primary granule contents

"Master, His Hepes Causes Choking & Gagging!":

Mast = Mast cell

His = Histamine

He= Heparin

C = Chymase

Ch = Chemotactic factor for eosinophils

Gag = GAGase


Taste buds: vallate vs. fungiform distribution

Cross sectional shape of the top of the bud tells their distribution. Vallate: has a shallow 'V' at the top, so has a 'V' distribution at the back of the tongue. Fungiform: top is round so it is towards the round end of the tongue.

· Note vallate is also sometimes called circumvallate.  


Muscle sarcomere: H line vs. Z disc location

HAZI (Hazy): H line is in A-band. Z disc is in the I band


White blood cell relative concentrations

"Never Let Monkeys Eat Bananas": From greatest to least:

Neutrophils (65%)

Lymphocytes (25%)

Monocytes (6%)

Eosinophils (3%)

Basophils (1%)

· Alternatively: "Nine Little Monkeys Eating Bananas".

· Alternatively: "Noone Likes My Educational Background".

· Alternatively: "Never Let Mamma Eat Beans".

 · Can remember that Eosinophils is 3%, by the mirror image of E is 3.


Muscle sarcomere: A vs. I as light or dark

There is only one vowel in "dark" and one vowel in "light". These one vowels match up to their one letter names: DArk band is the A band. LIght band is the I band.


Leukocytes: granulated and agranulated

"BEN Loves Money":

· Granulocytes: Basophil Eosinophil Neurophil

· Agranulocytes: Lymphocytes Monocytes

· Alternatively: Granpa BEN..." to keep the granulated group straight.


Vascular endothelium: simplified cross-section

LIMA: Lumen Intima Media Adventitia


Hair: 4 layers of germinal matrix product

"Mary Can't C*ck Suck": ·

 From centre to periphery: Medulla Cortex Cuticle


Pancreatic exocrine cells: nuclei

A cells are indented around the capital A. B cells have a round nucleus like a B lymphocyte. · See diagram. D cells have Different shapes and sizes.

Neutrophil's 2 distinctive physical features

1: There's up to 5 lobes of the nucleus joined by thin appendages. Tie this to it being a neutrophil nucleus by arranging the 5 lobes into a capital N for Neutrophil.

2: the chicken leg (Barr Body) sticking out. Say it out loud: chick-N. The chick-N leg is for Neutrophil.


Basophil vs. eosinophils: effect for allergic persons

Basophils are "Bad-o-phils" because they contribute to our allergic reactions.

 Eosinophils are "Easy-on-me-phils" because they counteract our allergic reactions.


Muscle fiber: types

· Type 1: "1 slow fat red ox": -slow twitch -lipid accumulation -red fibers –oxidative

 · Type 2: "2 fast skinny white breasts": -fast twitch -low lipid -white fibers, like chicken breasts 


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