Epithelium

Definition

The term "epithelium" refers to layers of cells that line hollow organs and glands. It is also those cells that make up the outer surface of the body.

Information

Epithelial cells help to protect or enclose organs. Most produce mucus or other secretions.

Certain types of epithelial cells have tiny hairs called cilia, which help remove foreign substances.

Epithelial cells are arranged in single, or multiple layers, depending on the organ and location.


Review Date: 10/8/2018
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.