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Simple squamous epithelium

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noun, plural: simple squamous epithelia

Simple epithelium composed of squamous epithelial cells


A simple epithelium is an epithelial tissue that is composed of a single layer of epithelial cells. These cells are in direct contact with the basement membrane. This tissue may be classified histologically according to the shape of the cells it is made up of. It may be squamous (scale-like), cuboidal (cube-like), or columnar (column-like).

A simple squamous epithelium is a simple epithelium made up of squamous epithelial cells. The squamous epithelial cells are characterized by being flat, possessing an oblong nucleus, and scale-like (thus, the name). The cells are wider than tall, and appear polygonal when viewed from above. This particular type of epithelium provides a smooth, low-friction surface, and thereby allows easy movement of fluids over it. It is often permeable. Small molecules can pass through the membrane via diffusion or filtration.

The simple squamous epithelium is mainly involved in secretion and absorption. This type of tissue can be found in the ducts and secretory parts of the small glands. In particular, it is found in the outer layer of the skin, the endothelium, the kidney tubules, etc. It also serves as a lining of the pericardial, peritoneal, and pleural cavities. It lines the alveoli of the lungs in which it allows the diffusion of gases.

Also called:

  • simple squamous epithelial tissue
  • pavement epithelium

See also: