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Cytoarchitecture is the study of the arrangement, or pattern of arrangement, of cells in a body tissue, organ, or structure when viewed under a microscope. A cell is the smallest, most basic unit of life, that is capable of existing by itself. When groups of cells of the same type come together with non-living material, they are called tissues. Cytoarchitecture can also refer to the arrangement of cells in a tissue. An example of cytoarchitecture is the arrangement of nerve cells in the brain, especially the outer, top part of the brain (known as the cerebral cortex). This is often referred to as cytoarchitecture of the cerebral cortex. However, other parts of the brain are also the focus of cytoarchitectural studies such as the cerebellum. The cerebellum is an area in the back, bottom part of the brain that plays an important role in movement and coordination.

Cytoarchitecture is also known as cytoarchitectonics and architectonics. Cytoarchitectonics is the preferred term in the neurological sciences in which the arrangement of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are studied. Cytoarchitectural means pertaining to cytoarchitecture. Cytoarchitecture comes from the Greek word "kytos" meaning "a hollow cell," and the Greek word "architektonike" meaning "architectural." Architecture is the art and science of building. Put the two words together and you have "architecture (of) hollow cells."