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Epithelial Tissue

Characteristic Consists of cells arranged in continuous sheets, in either single or multiple layers Closely packed and are held tightly together by many cell junctions (little intercellular space between adjacent plasma membranes) It is rarely covered by another tissue, so it always has a free surface Has no blood vessels

Three major function of Epithelial Tissue (1)selective barriers that limit or aid the transfer of substances into and out of the body; (2) secretory surfaces that release productsproduced by the cells onto their free surfaces; and (3) protective surfaces that resist the abrasive influences of the environment. The surfaces of epithelial cell The apical (free) surface : faces the body surface, a body cavity, the lumen (interior space) of an internal organ, or a tubular duct that receives cell secretions. May also contain cilia or microvilli The lateral surfaces : face the adjacent cells on either side, may contain tight junctions, adherens junctions, desmosomes, and/or gap junctions The basal surface : is opposite the apical surface, and the basal surfaces of the deepest layer of cells adhere to extracellular materials. In discussing epithelia with multiple layers the term apical layer refers to the most superficial layer of cells, and the basal layer is the deepest layer of epithelial cells. The basement membrane : is a thin extracellular layer that commonly consists of two layers, the basal lamina (closer toand secreted bythe epithelial cells) and reticular lamina (closer to the underlying connective tissue ) functions : as a point of attachment and support for the overlying epithelial tissue. Epithelial tissue may be divided into two types. (1) Covering and lining epithelium forms the outer covering of the skin and some internal organs. It also forms the inner lining of blood vessels, ducts, and body cavities, and the interior of the respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. (2) Glandular epithelium makes up the secreting portion of glands such as the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, and sweat glands.

The covering and lining epithelial tissue


Classified according to two characteristics: the arrangement of cells into layers and the shapes of the cells 1. Arrangement of cells in layers. a. Simple epithelium single layer of cells that functions in diffusion, osmosis, filtration, secretion, or absorption.

b. Pseudostratified epithelium appears to have multiple layers of cells because the cell nuclei lie at different levels and not all cells reach the apical surface. c. Stratified epithelium consists of two or more layers of cells that protect underlying tissues in locations where there is considerable wear and tear. 2. Cell shapes. a. Squamous cells arranged like floor tiles and are thin, which allows for the rapid passage of substances. b. Cuboidal cells as tall as they are wide and are shaped like cubes or hexagons c. Columnar cells much taller than they are wide, like columns, and protect underlying tissues. d. Transitional cells change shape, from flat to cuboidal and back, as organs such as the urinary bladder stretch (distend) to a larger size and then collapse to a smaller size. Combining the two characteristics (arrangements of layers and cell shapes), the types of covering and lining epithelia are as follows: I. Simple epithelium A. Simple squamous epithelium B. Simple cuboidal epithelium C. Simple columnar epithelium (nonciliated and ciliated) D. Pseudostratified columnar epithelium (nonciliated and ciliated) II. Stratified epithelium A. Stratified squamous epithelium (keratinized and nonkeratinized) B. Stratified cuboidal epithelium C. Stratified columnar epithelium D. Transitional epithelium Simple Epithelium 1. Simple Squamous Epithelium Description: Single layer of flat cells; centrally located nucleus. Location: Lines heart, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, air sacs of lungs, glomerular (Bowmans) capsule of kidneys, and inner surface of the tympanic membrane (eardrum); forms epithelial layer of serous membranes, such as the peritoneum, pericardium, and pleura. Function: Filtration, diffusion, osmosis, and secretion in serous membranes.

2. Simple Cubodial Epithelium Description: Single layer of cube-shaped cells; centrally located nucleus. Location: Covers surface of ovary, lines anterior surface of capsule of the lens of the eye, forms the pigmented epithelium at the posterior surface of the eye, lines kidney tubules and smaller ducts of many glands, and makes up the secreting portion

of some glands such as the thyroid gland and the ducts of some glands such as the pancreas. Function: Secretion and absorption.

3. Nonciliated Simple Columnar Epithelium Description: Single layer of nonciliated column-like cells with nuclei near base of cells; contains goblet cells and cells with microvilli in some locations. Location: Lines the gastrointestinal tract (from the stomach to the anus), ducts of many glands, and gallbladder. Function: Secretion and absorption.

4. Ciliated simple columnar epithelium Description: Single layer of ciliated column-like cells with nuclei near base; contains goblet cells in some locations. Location: Lines some bronchioles (small tubes) of respiratory tract, uterine (fallopian) tubes, uterus, efferent ducts of the testes, some paranasal sinuses, central canal of spinal cord, and ventricles of the brain. Function: Moves mucus and other substances by ciliary action.

5. Pseudostratified columnar epithelium Description: Not a true stratified tissue; nuclei of cells are at different levels; all cells are attached to basement membrane, but not all reach the apical surface. Location: Pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium lines the airways of most of upper respiratory tract; pseudostratified

nonciliated columnar epithelium lines larger ducts of many glands, epididymis, and part of male urethra. Function: Secretion and movement of mucus by ciliary action.

STRATIFIED EPITHELIUM 1. Stratified squamous epithelium Description: Several layers of cells; cuboidal to columnar shape in deep layers; squamous cells form the apical layer and several layers deep to it; cells from the basal layer replace surface cells as they are lost. Location: Keratinized variety forms superficial layer of skin; nonkeratinized variety lines wet surfaces, such as lining of the mouth, esophagus, part of larynx, part of pharynx, and vagina, and covers the tongue. Function: Protection.

2. Stratified cuboidal epithelium Description: Two or more layers of cells in which the cells in the apical layer are cubeshaped. Location: Ducts of adult sweat glands and esophageal glands and part of male urethra. Function: Protection and limited secretion and absorption.

3. Stratified columnar epithelium Description: Several layers of irregularly shaped cells; only the apical layer has columnar cells.

Location: Lines part of urethra, large excretory ducts of some glands, such as esophageal glands, small areas in anal mucous membrane, and part of the conjunctiva of the eye. Function: Protection and secretion.

4. Transitional epithelium Description: Appearance is variable (transitional); shape of cells in apical layer ranges from squamous (when stretched) to cuboidal (when relaxed). Location: Lines urinary bladder and portions of ureters and urethra. Function: Permits distension.

Glandular Epithelium
A. Endocrine Glands Description: Secretory products (hormones) diffuse into blood after passing through interstitial fluid. Location: Examples include pituitary gland at base of brain, pineal gland in brain, thyroid and parathyroid glands near larynx (voice box), adrenal glands superior to kidneys, pancreas near stomach, ovaries in pelvic cavity, testes in scrotum, and thymus in thoracic cavity. Function: Produce hormones that regulate various body activities.

B. Exocrine Glands Description: Secretory products released into ducts.

Location: Sweat, oil, and earwax glands of the skin; digestive glands such as salivary glands, which secrete into mouth cavity, and pancreas, which secretes into the small intestine. Function: Produce substances such as sweat, oil, earwax, saliva, or digestive enzymes.

Nervous Tissue

Consists of only two principal types of cells: neurons and neuroglia.


1. Neurons, or nerve cells, sensitive to various stimuli. They convert stimuli into electrical signals called action potentials (nerve impulses) and conduct these action potentials to other neurons, to muscle tissue, or to glands. Most neurons consist ofthree basic parts: The cell body contains the nucleus and other organelles. Dendrites are tapering, highly branched, and usually short cell processes (extensions). They are the major receiving or input portion of a neuron. The axon of a neuron is a single, thin, cylindrical process that may be very long. It is the output portion of a neuron, conducting nerve impulses toward another neuron or to some other tissue. 2. Neuroglia Even though neuroglia do not generate or conduct nerve impulses, these cells do have many important supportive functions

Location: Nervous system. Function: Exhibits sensitivity to various types of stimuli, converts stimuli into nerve impulses (action potentials), and conducts nerve impulses to other neurons, muscle fibers, or glands.