Medical Terms for Epithelial Tissues

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

We are going to get an understanding of the different types of epithelial tissues. Where they are found in and on the body and their functions will be defined as well. You will also learn the structure of epithelial tissues.

Epithelial Tissues

Have you spent any time thinking about the different parts of your body and what they are made of? You know that different parts of your body have different functions, so you probably already know they aren't made of the exact same thing.

You know some parts of your body stretch, while others don't. You know that some parts of your body secrete things, while others absorb. You probably even know that some parts of your body are there for protection, while other parts are there to nourish the body. Well, that is a great start to understanding the different types of tissues that make up the organs of your body.

We are going to spend some time learning about epithelial tissues. This is the tissue that covers and lines your body and internal organs. This tissue has one side that is open to an internal or external space, and the other side is attached to connective tissue.

The main functions for epithelial tissues are secretion, absorption, excretion and protection. Epithelial tissues also don't have blood vessels and tend to divide quicker than other tissue types. There are several types of epithelial tissues, and they are grouped based on the appearance and organization of cells in the tissue. Let's look at the different types of epithelial tissues now.

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  • 0:01 Epithelial Tissues
  • 1:20 Simple Epithelial Tissues
  • 2:49 Stratified Epithelial Tissues
  • 4:00 Other Epithelial Tissues
  • 5:07 Lesson Summary
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Simple Epithelial Tissues

The simple epithelial tissues are considered simple because they only contain one layer of cells and all cells have the same shape.

Simple squamous epithelium tissues have one layer of flattened cells that allow substances to pass through them. The main functions for this tissue type are diffusion, osmosis and filtration. Simple squamous tissue is found in areas where these functions are needed, such as the air sacs of the lungs and the linings of the blood and lymph vessels.

Simple columnar epithelium tissues have one layer of cells shaped like columns. The cells in this tissue have their nuclei close to the surface attached to connective tissue and have goblet cells on the free surface, which secrete mucus. The functions of this tissue type are protection, secretion and absorption, and it is located in the linings of the stomach, uterus and intestines.

The last one in this category is simple cuboidal epithelium tissue, which has one layer of cube-shaped cells that allow for it to carry out the functions of secretion and absorption. Simple cuboidal tissue is found covering the ovaries and in the linings of the kidneys to secrete and absorb. It is also found in clusters in glands to secrete.

Stratified Epithelial Tissues

The stratified epithelial tissues have multiple layers of cells with differing shapes. The names for stratified epithelial tissues are determined based on the type of cells on the outer surface.

Stratified squamous epithelium include a layer of flattened squamous cells on the surface, and they function to protect the areas where they are located. You can find this tissue type in the lining of the beginning of the GI tract, such as the mouth and esophagus, and on the skin's surface.

Cube-shaped cells can be found on the surface of stratified cuboidal epithelium. This is the least common of the epithelial tissues. The tissue is found in the ducts of exocrine glands to include the reproductive organs. The function of stratified cuboidal epithelium is to protect the largest ducts of the exocrine glands.

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