What is epithelial tissue? Full Information

Hello friends, do you want to know completely about epithelial tissue, if yes then this article is for you only. In this article, you have been given step-by-step complete information about Epithelial tissue.

Before reading about epithelial tissue, let us know what is tissue. So without wasting any time let’s start reading.

What is a tissue?

A group of cells that have the same function and origin, but based on structure it can be similar or dissimilar, then such a group of cells is called a tissue.

How many types of tissues?

There are four types of tissues in animals.

  1. Epithelial tissue
  2. Connective tissue
  3. Muscular tissue
  4. Nervous tissue

Of these, we will study only epithelial tissue in detail, we will study the rest of the tissue in another article.

Some important questions related to tissue –

Q.1 What is the study of tissue called?

The study of tissue is called Histology.

Q.2 Who gave the word Histology?

The term Histology was given by the scientist Mayer.

Q.3 Who is called the father of Histology?

Marcello Malpighi is called the father of Histology.

Q.4 Who is the father of microscopic anatomy?

Marcello Malpighi is called the father of microscopic anatomy.

Q.5 Who gave the word tissue?

In respect of animals, the word tissue was given by Bichat, and in the respect of plants, the word tissue was given by Nehemiah Grew.

How are the four types of tissues found in animals formed or originated?

All these four tissues are formed from germ layers.

  • Epithelial tissue can be formed from any of the three layers of the Ectoderm, the Mesoderm, and the Endoderm.
  • Connective tissue is formed only from the Mesoderm layer.
  • The formation of muscle tissue also occurs only at the Mesoderm layer.
  • Neural tissue is formed only from the ectoderm layer.

What is epithelial tissue?

Epithelial tissue can originate from any of the three layers.

Also, read –

What is the main function of epithelial tissue?

Epithelial tissue forms the covering and lining.

Example of covering – See our skin which is made up of epithelial tissue this is what our skin is doing our skin is surrounding the body from the outside means making a cover which is working as a protective layer.

Similarly, the lining of the internal cavity (space) inside the body is also made up of epithelial tissue. Example of lining – You must have known about our alimentary canal, if you do not know, then there is no point in taking tension, I am telling you about it.

Our alimentary canal extends from the mouth to the anus. This alimentary canal is divided into different parts. Like – as the mouth, palate (hard palate, soft palate), pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus.

These are all part of the alimentary canal. This alimentary canal is hollow from the inside, that is, there is a space inside, so you know that the lining of this space is made up of epithelial tissue.

Epithelial tissue can be formed from all three germ levels, we have already read that the part from the mouth to the hard palate is made of Ectoderm and the part from the soft palate to the rectum is made of Endoderm, and from the anal canal to anus Part is made of ectoderm.

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Now a question must be arising in your mind what makes Mesoderm, then mesoderm makes the layer of our blood vessels.

Characteristics of epithelial tissue –

Epithelial tissue is formed first in our body.

See why this tissue is named Epithelial. Epithelial tissue of which Epi means upon and upon means “over someone” Similarly Thelial means Growth and Growth means ” increase”.

Now if these two are read together, then it means to rise above someone. This means that this tissue grows on someone, and now it comes to the point on whom this epithelial tissue grows. So this epithelial tissue grows over the connective tissue, hence it is called Epithelial tissue.

But connective tissue and epithelial tissue are not adjacent to each other. There is a layer between these two tissues called the basement membrane.

Both tissues make this base layer. How to make it, see the epithelial tissue that secretes a chemical called Glycoprotein on its bottom side, and this chemical forms a layer called Basal lamina.

Similarly, connective tissue secretes a chemical called Mucopolysaccharide on its upper side, and this chemical also forms a layer called Fibrous lamina. This layer also contains collagen fibers. Together these two levels are called the basement membrane. This basement membrane is at the non-cellular layer.

Epithelial tissue does not have intercellular spaces. This means there is no space between their cells or their cells are very close to each other.

This tissue is situated on top of a thin acellular membrane called the basement membrane.

Classification of epithelial tissue –

There are three types of epithelial tissue.

  1. Simple Epithelium Tissue
  2. Compound Epithelium Tissue
  3. Specialized Epithelium Tissue
epithelial tissue
Image credit – https://ncert.nic.in

What is simple epithelial tissue?

Such epithelial tissue which is made up of a single layer is called simple epithelial tissue.

Classification of simple epithelium –

This epithelium is divided into four parts based on shape.

  1. Simple Squamous Epithelium
  2. Simple Cuboidal Epithelium
  3. Simple Columnar Epithelium
  4. Pseudostratified Epithelium
epithelial tissue
Image credit – https://ncert.nic.in/

1- Simple Squamous Epithelium –

Such simple epithelium which is flat in shape is called simple squamous epithelium.

Symptom –

  • These are flat cells.
  • Their nucleus is round.
  • Their edges are irregular.
  • This epithelium looks as if tiles have been laid on the floor and this condition is called pavement.

Function –

Their two main functions are diffusion and filtration.

Example 1-

The lungs of our body have inflated structures called alveoli. These alveoli have a layer that contains cells, these cells are called pneumocytes. There are holes in the middle of these pneumocytes, these holes are called “Pores of KoHN”.

Below these alveoli, there are blood vessels and through the holes between these blood vessels and alveoli, gases are exchanged by the diffusion process. The cells through which this process is taking place are called Pneumocytes and these pneumocytes are simple cells.

Example 2-

A structure called a nephron is found in our kidney and the cup-like structure in this kidney is called Bowman’s capsule. This Bowman capsule has two layers. Inner level and outer level. There are cells in the inner layer and these cells are called Podocytes.

There are holes between these podocyte cells and through these holes, the substances go down after filtering. These podocyte cells are squamous epithelium. Now you must have understood how simple squamous epithelium helps in the work of filtration.

Example 3-

There is a space inside the blood vessel, which is called the blood vessel cavity. This cavity is lined from the inside by an epithelium called Endothelium. This endothelium is a type of simple squamous epithelium.

Example 4-

If we talk about our hearts, then there are three walls in our hearts. In which the outermost wall is called Epicardium, the middle wall is called Myocardium, and the innermost wall is called Endocardium. This endocardium wall is a type of simple squamous epithelium.

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2- Simple Cuboidal Epithelium –

Such simple epithelium whose shape is cuboidal is called the simple cuboidal epithelium.

They are also called Germinal Epithelium because this epithelium is present in the seminiferous tubule of the testis and later the cells of this epithelium produce gametes, hence it is also called the germinal epithelium.

Simple cuboidal epithelium functions –

This epithelium is concerned with absorption, secretion, and excretion.

Example –

1- Pancreatic acini cells which are simple cuboidal epithelium. These cells form the exocrine part of the pancreas, which secretes pancreatic juice, that is, it is related to the secretory function.

2- Sweat gland. This is also a cuboidal epithelium.

The follicular cells of the thyroid gland are also cuboidal epithelium, which secretes the hormone thyroxine.

4- There is a nephron inside our kidney. The proximal convoluted tubule (PCT), distal convoluted tubule (DCT), and collecting duct of this nephron are made of cuboidal epithelium.

3- Simple Columnar Epithelium –

Such simple epithelium whose shape is columnar is called the simple columnar epithelium.

Their nucleus is at the base.

Function – It is also related to absorption and secretion.

Example –

1- Cells of the bile duct. It is columnar.

2- The stomach, liver, and gastric glands also have columnar epithelium.

3- This simple columnar epithelium is transformed into two forms. Ciliary columnar epithelium and microtubule columnar epithelium. A thread-like structure is found at the end of both of these epithelia, but at the end of the ciliated columnar epithelium, this structure is larger, it is called cilia.

While the microvilli are small on the columnar epithelium, it is called microvilli. It is found in the Gall’s bladder. And ciliated columnar epithelium is found in the fallopian tubes and respiratory tract.

4- Pseudostratified Epithelium –

The cells of this epithelium are single-layered but appear to be two-layered, hence they are called the pseudostratified epithelium.

It is columnar and is made up of two types of cells. long cell and small cell.

Function – Relates to filtering, to air.

Example – Trachea, Bronchi, and Bronchioles.

What is compound epithelium?

Such epithelial tissue which is made up of multiple layers is called compound epithelial tissue. This epithelium serves to provide protection.

Example – Skin Its scientific name is – Stratum corneum.

It is of two types.

1- Transitional epithelium –

Such an epithelium can increase or decrease its area. This means the volume of the organ in which this epithelium is present can be small or large. A basement membrane is not found in this epithelial tissue.

Example:- Bladder, When urine is collected in the bladder, the volume of the bladder increases, and when urine is expelled, its volume decreases. This epithelium is found only in the urinary bladder and urinary tract.

2- Stratified epithelium –

A basement membrane is found in this epithelium. Above this membrane, there is a cell layer that can be cuboidal or columnar, and the cells above it are polygonal, and the last cell layer above it is flat. Or it can be cuboidal or columnar, the shape of which will be the type of stratified epithelium.

There are three types of stratified epithelium.

(a) Stratified squamous epithelium – The stratified epithelium in which the last cell layer is flattened is called stratified squamous epithelium. It is of two types. Keratinized and non-keratinized.

The stratified squamous epithelium in which keratin is found above the last cell layer is called the keratinous epithelium. This keratin is a dead protein. This keratin is found in hair, skin, nails, feathers of birds, hoofs and horns of animals, etc.

The stratified squamous epithelium in which keratin is not found above the last cell layer is called the non-keratinous epithelium. It is found in the lining of the oral cavity, the pharynx, in the vagina, and the anal canal.

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(b) Stratified cuboidal epithelium – The stratified epithelium in which the last cell layer is cuboidal is called the stratified cuboidal epithelium.

(c) Stratified columnar epithelium – The stratified epithelium whose last cell layer is columnar is called the stratified columnar epithelium.

What is specialized epithelial tissue?

When the simple or compound epithelium is modified to perform some specific function, then such epithelium is called the specialized epithelium.

It is mainly of three types.

1- Glandular epithelium – Glands are found in this epithelium which produces some special chemicals.

What is the gland?

It is a modification of epithelial tissue that produces and secretes certain chemicals.

How many types of glands?

There are many types of glands. There are two types of glands based on cells.

1- Unicellular Glands – Such a gland in which there is only one cell and this one cell manufactures and secretes a chemical, then such a gland is called a unicellular gland.

Only two unicellular glands are found in our body.

(i) Goblet cells – These cells are found in the innermost layer of our alimentary canal which secrete a thick fluid called mucus. It helps in the forward movement of liquid food by lubricating it.

(ii) Paneth cells – These cells secrete lysozyme in the small intestine which acts to kill micro-organisms.

2- Multicellular glands – Such a gland in which many cells together form and secrete a chemical, then such a gland is called a multicellular gland.

Except for the unicellular gland, all other glands are multicellular glands.

Examples – Hypothalamus gland, Pituitary gland, Pancreatic gland, Thyroid gland, Parathyroid gland, Salivary gland, Testes, Ovaries, Adrenal gland, etc.

Gland based on secretion –

Exocrine glands – Such a gland that transports its secretion or product to its target through its duct is called an exocrine gland.

Examples – Salivary gland, oil gland, sweat gland, lacrimal gland, milk gland, etc. These glands secrete enzymes as well as other chemicals.

Endocrine glands – Such glands which do not have a duct of their own and transport their secretion or product to their target through the blood, are called endocrine glands. For example – the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, thyroid gland, thymus gland, pineal gland, etc. These glands secrete hormones.

Mixed gland (Heterocrine glands/Mixed glands) – Such a gland that reaches its target through both duct and blood is called a mixed gland.

Examples – Pancreas, testis, ovary, etc.

Gland based on shape –

There are three types of glands based on structure.

Tubular glands – These are tubular, hence they are called tubular glands.

Alveolar glands – These are alveolar in shape, hence they are called alveolar glands.

Compound Tubulo-Alveolar – In this gland, both tubular and alveolar types of glands are found together, hence they are called combined tubuloalveolar.

What is a cell junction?

You know what a cell is and the meaning of junction is joint, that is, in which way two neighboring cells can join together, this is called cell junction.

How many types of cell junctions?

This treaty is of three types.

1- Tight Junction – When two cells are firmly connected, then this type of junction is called a tight junction. It is connected firmly so that no substance can leak between the two cells.

2- Adherent junction – This joint also keeps two neighboring cells together but does not stop the leakage of any substance. It is of two types.

(i) Interdigitation – In this, both cell levels are connected. Like – if we intertwine our fingers, some are connected like this.

(ii) Desmosomes – In this, there is some protein between the two cells, from which some fibers emerge, which are buried in both the neighboring cells, due to which both the adjacent cells are connected.

3- Gap junction – The job of this junction is to exchange essential substances between the two neighboring cells.


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