The mesothelium is a cellular membrane covering five cavities of the human body: the pericardial (around the heart sac), pleural (around the lungs), peritoneal (around the abdominal cavity), scrotal (inside the scrotum), and the cavities in the women’s internal reproductive organs. Basically, it is the thin layer of mesodermal epithelium cells surrounding the above cavities.
Mesothelium derives from the mesoderm membrane covering the body cavity of the embryo which further develops into a layer of cells surrounding and protecting most of the internal organs. Mesothelium can be of two types: visceral mesothelium closely surrounds the organ, and parietal mesothelium is the “sac” lining the cavity.
The proteins and serosal fluid that are released between the two layers of Mesothelium make a lubricating liquid providing a slippery protective surface to facilitate movement of organs, such as the heart throbbing, the lungs breathing and the intestinal peristalsis. The lubrication allows organs to glide easily inside the cavity.
Mesothelioma is a cancerous disease which causes abnormal growth and division of the mesothelium cells. They can invade and damage the adjusting tissues and organs and the cancer cells can also spread from their original location to other parts of the body. Mesothelioma mostly starts in the peritoneal cavity. More than 90% of mesothelioma cases are connected with asbestos exposure. Smoking combined with asbestos exposure significantly increases a person’s risk of developing mesothelioma.
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