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Keratinized stratified squamous epithelium

Recommended video: Stratified epithelium [13:06]
Structures and types of stratified epithelia.

Keratinized stratified squamous epithelium is a type of stratified epithelium that contains numerous layers of squamous cells, called keratinocytes, in which the superficial layer of cells is keratinized. This type of epithelium comprises the epidermis of the skin.

This epithelium contains 5 layers:

  • Stratum basale (stratum germinativum): contains the stem cells of the epidermis.
  • Stratum spinosum (prickle cell layer): contains cells that have migrated from the stratum basale.
  • Stratum granulosum: contains cells rich in keratohyalin granules.
  • Stratum lucidum: only found in thick skin (palm of hand, sole of foot).
  • Stratum corneum: contains keratinized cells, dead cells lacking nuclei and filled with keratin filaments.

Keratinization refers to the process of maturation during which the cells produced in the basal layer migrate to the stratum corneum where they degenerate and are shed off.

Besides the skin, the keratinized stratified squamous epithelium is also found in areas of the oral mucosa that are subject to frictional stress, such as the gingiva, hard palate and parts of the tongue. The keratinized epithelium in the oral mucosa is similar to the epidermis, except that it lacks the stratum lucidum.

Terminology English: Keratinized stratified squamous epithelium
Latin: Epithelium stratificatum squamosum cornificatum
Definition A type of stratified epithelium that contains numerous layers of keratinocytes, in which the superficial layer of cells are degenerated and shed off.
Layers - Stratum basale (stratum germinativum)
- Stratum spinosum (prickle cell layer)
- Stratum granulosum
- Stratum lucidum
- Stratum corneum
Location Epidermis of skin, gingiva, hard palate, parts of tongue

If you want to learn more about keratinized squamous and other types of stratified epithelia, check out out study unit below:

Keratinized stratified squamous epithelium: want to learn more about it?

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