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Vermiform appendix

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Understand the characteristics and function of the vermiform appendix.
  2. Explain the histological structure of the vermiform appendix.

Browse atlas

The vermiform appendix is a tube-like appendage of the cecum (large intestine) in the right lower abdomen. It consists of the same histological layer arrangement as the entire intestine which consists of the mucosa, submucosa, muscular coat and the serosa.

The appendix is lined with single-layered columnar epithelium that has deep intestinal crypts but no villi. The lymphatic tissue is particularly prominent in the lamina propria and submucosa with many lymphoid follicles and large germinal centers. The crypts are particularly deep so that the follicles are in close contact to the intestinal lumen. The epithelium of the intestinal crypts is absent above the peaks of the lymph follicles. There it is replaced by specialized M cells (microfold cells).

The muscular coat of the vermiform appendix consists of an inner circular and an outer longitudinal muscle layer. In contrast to the cecum and colon, the longitudinal muscle layer of the appendix is continuous and not divided into teniae. Since the appendix is usually located intraperitoneally, it is surrounded by a serosa.

Learn more about the histology of the vermiform appendix by viewing the images below:

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