What is Simple Squamous Epithelium?

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  • 0:02 Tissue Types
  • 0:54 What's in a Name?
  • 1:44 Tissue Purpose
  • 2:14 Tissue Location
  • 3:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Phenix
In this lesson, you'll explore what simple squamous epithelium means, where these cells and tissues are found in the body, and how their structure enables this tissue to be an efficient filtering agent.

Tissue Types

As you may have learned, there are four types of tissues that compose all of the structures of our bodies: nervous tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue, and epithelial tissue.

Nervous tissue refers to the tissues that transmit neural signals to and from the brain. Muscle tissues are any contractile tissues that create movement, such as the skeletal muscles of our arms and legs, as well as those that form organ walls in the heart, stomach, and intestinal tract. The tissues responsible for supporting, protecting, and securing bones, muscles, and organs in place, such as tendons, ligaments, and fat tissues, are called connective tissues. Epithelial tissues are those that internally or externally line organs, cavities, and body structures. They are responsible for everything from lining and protecting organs and vessels to absorption, secretion, and diffusion.

What's in a Name?

The term simple squamous epithelium, while being a really long and arcane-sounding, is actually really informative. If you learn to decode it, you can understand a lot about the basic structure of this tissue type.

As mentioned above, epithelial tissues are those that line cavities and surface structures of organs. For example, your skin is actually a stratified or multi-layered type of epithelial tissue. Squamous describes the appearance of the cells. Derived from the Latin and meaning 'scales' or 'scaly,' it refers to the fact that these cells look somewhat like a reptile's skin. Lastly, simple means that this tissue is made from a single, rather than many, layers of cells. In other words, simple squamous epithelium is a type of tissue that lines a cavity or organ and is formed by a single layer of cells that are similar in shape to a reptile's skin.

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