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noun, plural: epithelia

A type of animal tissue made up of densely packed cells that rest on a basement membrane to act as a covering or lining of various bodily surfaces and cavities


Tissues of animals may be classified into the following fundamental types: epithelial tissue or epithelium , nerve tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue, and vascular tissue. The epithelial tissue (also called epithelium) is a membranous animal tissue made up of one or more layers of cells closely packed together and serves as a covering of internal and external surfaces of the body, including bodily cavities and vessels. It is primarily involved in protecting the underlying structures, secretion, regulation, and absorption. This tissue may be classified histologically according to the cell shape:

The epithelium may also be grouped according to the number of layers that make it up : simple epithelium, stratified epithelium, and pseudostratified epithelium.

Epithelial tissues may be found lining animal organs such as those of the reproductive tract and the digestive tract.


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