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Epithelium

Definition

The term "epithelium" refers to layers of cells that line hollow organs and glands. It is also those cells that make up the outer surface of the body.

Alternative Names

Epithelial cells

Information

Epithelial cells help to protect or enclose organs. Most produce mucus or other secretions.

Certain types of epithelial cells have tiny hairs called cilia, which help remove foreign substances.

Epithelial cells are arranged in single, or multiple layers, depending on the organ and location.

References

Kierszenbaum AL, Tres LL. Epithelium. In: Kierszenbaum AL, Tres LL, eds. Histology and Cell Biology: An Introduction to Pathology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 1.


Review Date: 11/12/2016
Reviewed By: Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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