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How to Identify Epithelial Tissues

How to Identify Epithelial Tissues

Author: Aaron Mullally

- Understand what the basement membrane is and the role it plays in epithelial tissue

- Understand where you find the basement membrane

- Understand the difference between simple vs. stratified epithelial tissue

- Know what the three different shapes of epithelial cells are (squamous, cuboidal, columnar)

- Know the morphological difference between the three shapes of epithelial cells

In this packet I give you some useful hints for differentiating between the classes of epithelial tissue.

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Overview of Epithelial Tissue Classification

Here are some basic characteristics of epithelial tissue:

- This tissue is found on body surfaces/coverings such as skin, and lining hollow organs and cavities
- Cells of epithelial tissue are very tightly packed together which leaves no room for blood vessels or nerves to grow in between them
- Epithelial cells are always grounded to a basement membrane, and directly underneath the basement you will find loose connective tissue (areolar)
- There are two ways to name epithelial cells, by the shapes of the cells and by how many layers of cells there are (simple vs stratified) (refer to the image)
- Squamous cells are very small and flat
- Cuboidal cells are cube-like in shape
- Columnar cells are very tall and also have a very long nucleus

Source: Self Made

Explanation of Epithelial Shapes

Here is a quick video of me explaining the differences between the cell shapes and layers. My apologies for the hard upper Midwest accent in the earlier videos, I started to weed that out in later ones.

Source: Self made with use of images from Marieb's Textbook of Anatomy & Physiology

Shapes of Epithelial Cells

Here are some images to help you think about the different shapes of epithelial cells and how they can be organized.

Source: Self Made