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Simple Squamous Epithelium: Functions, Location, Examples, Structure

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Definition of Simple Squamous Epithelium

Simple squamous epithelium, a kind of simple epithelium, is made by a single layer of cells on a basement membrane. It is a form of epithelium made up of a single layer of squamous or flat cells on top of a thin extracellular layer called the basement membrane. Such epithelium is also referred as the pavement epithelium since the cells resemble like floor tiles whenever observed from the apical surface.

Simple Squamous Epithelium structure

  • The simple squamous epithelium is composed of cells with thin walls as well as a dense nucleus.
  • The location of the nucleus is decided by the cell’s shape, with the nucleus predominantly arbitrarily oriented towards the periphery.
  • The cells resemble scales as well as present a smooth, low-friction surface for fluids to travel rapidly over.
  • Cells’ thinness as well as the occurrence of only one layer helps molecule transfer as well as cross-membrane exchange.
  • Cells are packed tightly, forming a continuous sheet, having approximately no intracellular spaces.
  • Shape as well as size of the cells is alike, yet they’re not the same.
  • Basement membrane divides every type of epithelium from the underlying tissue.
  • Apical surface of the tissue faces the organ lumen, whereas lateral surfaces have a variety of adhesions as well as junctions.
  • These junctions connect adjacent cells as well as aid in the transport of water as well as other molecules among them.
  • This layer comprises membrane carrier proteins, which let ions, gases, tiny molecules, or water flow through the cells.
  • Simple squamous epithelium, similar to all other epithelial tissues, is avascular, with no blood vessel supply. For oxygen, nutrition, as well as excretion, the cells of this epithelium rely on the blood vessels of the neighbouring connective tissues.
  • The nerve supply of the cells, on the other hand, is unique.
  • The squamous epithelium is classified into two groups depending on its location as well as major function.
  • The endothelium is the first type, as well as it lines the places which require a quick interchange of chemical compounds.
  • Endothelium develops within the embryo from the ectoderm layer.
  • Endothelium guards while permitting molecules to enter and exit the layer.
  • Another type of cell is the mesothelium, which is found on the serous membrane’s outer layer and releases a lubricating fluid to keep the surface smooth.
  • The mesoderm layer of the embryo gives birth to the mesothelium

Simple Squamous Epithelium: Functions, Location, Examples, Structure

Simple Squamous Epithelium functions

The primary and most significant function of simple squamous epithelium as a component of the covering as well as lining epithelium is the interchange of molecules. However, the epithelium performs a variety of different tasks, some of which are as follows:

  1. Protection
  • They offer a friction-free surface where secretion occurs.
  • As well as providing protection from desiccation and invasion, the epithelium also shields the tissues beneath it from toxins, foreign invaders, and even mild physical stress.
  • However, since the epithelium is just one layer thick, it cannot protect areas subjected to high mechanical stress.
  • Since epithelial tissue lacks blood vessels, it won’t bleed after being rubbed.
  1. Transport and Absorption
  • Particularly in places where molecules are both absorbed and transported, they are critical.
  • Simple epithelia are commonly seen as the lining of veins as well as cavities, where they govern the entry of chemicals into the underlying tissue.
  • Over the tissue’s surface are numerous physiological processes including osmosis, diffusion, and filtration.
  • Blood filtration in the Bowman’s capsule of the kidneys and oxygen and carbon dioxide diffusion between organs and blood arteries are both performed by the simple squamous epithelium.
  • Since it has a single layer of flat, thin cells, the squamous epithelium is the best tissue for these procedures.
  • Epithelium is composed of specialised membrane proteins which allow molecules and ions to pass through, such as in the intestinal wall.
  • The mesothelium’s simple squamous epithelium enabled visceral motility as well as active fluid transport through the process of pinocytosis.
  1. Secretion
  • Certain cells in the simple squamous epithelium secrete mucus, which acts as a lubricant against friction, in addition to fluids such as sebum.
  • Mesothelium has a role in the body’s release of different physiologically active compounds.
  • When food particles move through your digestive system, the cells that make mucus help to keep things going smoothly. An example of this would be in your intestine’s basic squamous epithelium.

Simple Squamous Epithelium Examples & Location

  • All over the body, from arteries and veins to kidney nephrons, they can be found.
  • The endothelium lines the organs of the bodys circulatory as well as lymphatic systems, such as the heart, blood vessels, as well as lymphatic vessels.
  • Another example of a simple squamous epithelium is found in the lungs’ alveoli, which consists of a single layer of squamous cells surrounded by a network of capillaries.
  • Peritoneum forms the epithelia of the serous intestinal membrane and is an example of mesothelium in the intestine.
  • Simple squamous epithelium also lines the Bowman’s capsule of the kidney’s nephrons. The outer wall of the Bowman’s capsule is lined with a single layer of squamous cells. Capsule blood vessels include a recombinant simple squamous epithelium, as do the capillaries within it.
  • Furthermore, the loops of Henle in the kidneys are bordered by simple squamous epithelium.
  • On the inner surface of the cornea and the tympanic membrane, simple squamous epithelium can be seen.
  • Ovarian epithelium also lines the gallbladder and other digestive tracts as well as the common bile duct and ovary.




Simple Squamous Epithelium Citations 

  • Mescher AL (2016). Basic Histology. Fourteenth Edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Tortora GJ and Derrickson B (2017). Principles of Physiology and Anatomy. Fifteenth Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Waugh A and Grant A. (2004) Anatomy and Physiology. Ninth Edition. Churchill Livingstone.


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