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columnar cells

Sunday 4 February 2018

columnar epithelial cells


Definition : Columnar epithelial cells are elongated and column-shaped and have a height of at least four times their width. Their nuclei are elongated and are usually located near the base of the cells.

Columnar epithelium forms the lining of the stomach and intestines. The cells here may possess microvilli for maximising the surface area for absorption and these microvilli may form a brush border.

Other cells may be ciliated to move mucus in the function of mucociliary clearance. Other ciliated cells are found in the fallopian tubes, the uterus and central canal of the spinal cord.

Some columnar cells are specialized for sensory reception such as in the nose, ears and the taste buds. Hair cells in the inner ears have stereocilia which are similar to microvilli. Goblet cells are modified columnar cells and are found between the columnar epithelial cells of the duodenum.

They secrete mucus, which acts as a lubricant.

Single-layered non-ciliated columnar epithelium tends to indicate an absorptive function.

Stratified columnar epithelium is rare but is found in lobar ducts in the salivary glands, the eye, pharynx and sex organs. This consists of a layer of cells resting on at least one other layer of epithelial cells which can be squamous, cuboidal, or columnar.

See also

- epithelium / epithelia
epithelial cells