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The information contained on this page is provided as general health information and is not intended to substitute as medical advice and direction from your physician or health care provider. Please direct any questions related to your health care provider. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency center.


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.

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Epithelial cells

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.