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Pseudostratified epithelium

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Structures and types of simple epithelia.

Pseudostratified epithelium is a type of simple columnar epithelium. As its name suggests, this epithelium has a false multilayered appearance, when it is in fact a single layer of cells. Each cell rests on the basement membrane, although not all cells reach the apical surface. However, the disposition of cell nuclei at different levels gives this epithelium a pseudostratified appearance.

Two key features distinguish this epithelium from true stratified epithelium. Firstly, cells exhibit polarity with nuclei typically limited to the basal two-thirds of the epithelium. Secondly, the majority of cells of this epithelium bear cilia, a feature not typically observed in true stratified epithelium.

Pseudostratified epithelium is mostly confined to the airways of the respiratory system and as such, is often called respiratory epithelium.

Terminology English: Pseudostratified epithelium

Epithelium pseudostratificatum
Structure - Single layer of cells
- All cells rest on the basement membrane
- Cell nuclei are distributed at different levels
- Nuclei are typically confined to basal two-thirds of the epithelium
- Cells typically possess cilia
Locations Airways of the respiratory tract, parts of male reproductive system
Function Protection, secretion and movement of mucus

Learn more about pseudostratified epithelium in the following study unit:

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