The oral cavity is lined with stratified squamous
epithelium, keratinized or nonkeratinized, depending on
The keratin layer protects the oral mucosa from
damage during masticatory function and is best
developed on the gingiva (gum) and hard palate. The
lamina propria in these regions has many papillae and
rests directly on bony tissue.
Nonkeratinized squamous epithelium covers the soft
palate, lips, cheeks, and the floor of the mouth.
In the lips, there is also striated muscle and a transition
from the oral nonkeratinized epithelium to the keratinized
epithelium of the skin
Mucosa: Stratified squamous epithelium keratinized (dorsal surface)
Stratified squamous epithelium non-keratinized (ventral
In the dorsal surface of the tongue are modifications called lingual
papillae. There are three types of papillae present on the body of the
1. filiform – most numerous and the smallest; slender in shape;
arranged in more or less distinct rows diverging to the right and
left from the middle line and parallel to the V shaped region.
2. Fungiform – mushroom shaped with a short, narrow slightly
constricted stalks and broad, rounded tops.
3. Circumvallate or vallate – located near the junction of the
anterior and posterior parts of the tongue. They form a V-shaped
row at the junction. They are the largest varieties that do not
extend above the surface of the tongue but sink beneath it.
(a): Drawing of a single taste bud shows the gustatory (taste) cells, the supporting cells whose function is not well-understood,
and the basal stem cells.Microvilli at the ends of the gustatory cells project through an opening in the epithelium, the taste
pore. Afferent sensory axons enter the basal end of taste buds and synapse with the gustatory cells. (b): In the stratified
squamous epithelium of the tongue surface or oral mucusa, taste buds form as distinct clusters of cells that recognizable
histologically even at low magnification. At higher power the taste pore may be visible, as well as the elongated nuclei of
gustatory and supporting cells and the fewer, round nuclei of basal stem cells. 140X and 500X. H&E.
The interior of the tongue consists of interlacing
bundles of skeletal muscles that run in three planes
and cross one another at right angles. Barrel shaped
taste buds are located in the epithelium of the lateral
surfaces of the papillae and are made up of two cells:
1. Neuroepithelial cells : Dark, slender cells which are
thickened in the middle due to the nucleus. These
cells terminate in a stiff process called the taste hair.
2. Sustentacular cells: Paler cells with rounded lightly
Presence of mixed glands (serous and mucous alveoli)
on the lower half of the tongue. Von ebner’s glands
are tubulo-alveolar glands of vallate papillae.
It is lined by nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithelium with stem
cells scattered throughout the basal layer
(a): Longitudinal section of esophagus shows mucosa consisting of nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithelium (SS), lamina propria
(LP), and smooth muscles of the muscularis mucosae (MM). Beneath the mucosa is the submucosa containing esophageal mucous
glands (GL) which empty via ducts (D) onto the luminal surface. X40. H&E. (b): Transverse section showing the muscularis halfway
along the esophagus reveals a combination of skeletal muscle (right) and smooth muscle fibers (left) in the outer layer, which are cut
both longitudinally and transversely here. This transition from muscles under voluntary control to the type controlled autonomically is
important in the swallowing mechanism. X200. H&E.
The stomach, like the small
intestine, is a mixed exocrine-
endocrine organ that digests
food and secretes hormones.
the mucosa of the stomach
consists of a simple columnar
surface epithelium that
invaginates into the lamina
propria, forming gastric pits
. The stomach is divided into regions:
1. cardia antrum is the opening from the esophagus into the
2. fundus is located to the left of the cardia, form a dome
shaped bulge above the level of the gastrointestinal
3. corpus is the capacious central portion
4. pylorus is the region of transition of the stomach into the
The wall of the stomach consists of the following layers:
Mucosa: This is lined with Simple columnar epithelium.
Several structures are observed in this layer:
1. Gastric pits or foveolae gastricae which are depressions
or deep surface invaginations in the lamina propria
2. Gastric glands are tubular structures of the stomach and
are found in the fundus and body of the stomach. These
are made up of:
a. Chief cells or Zymogenic
b. Parietal cells or oxyntic cells
c. Argentaffin cells
d. Neck mucous cells
This consists of denser connective tissue that contains some
fat cells and is rich in mast cells, lymphoid wandering cells
and eosinophilic leukocytes. This layer contains the large
blood vessels and lymph vessels.
This covers the outer portion of the stomach, consisting of a
mesothelium and a thin lamina propria of loose connective
RUGAE are folds in the mucosa and submucosa and run
parallel to the longitudinal axis of the organ.
The small intestine is relatively long—approximately 5 m—and consists
of three segments: duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.
Viewed with the naked eye, the lining of the small intestine shows a
series of permanent circular or semilunar folds (plicae circulares),
consisting of mucosa and submucosa which are best developed in the
Intestinal villi are 0.5- to 1.5-mm-long mucosal outgrowths (epithelium
plus lamina propria) and project into the lumen
In the duodenum they are leaf-shaped, but gradually assume fingerlike
shapes moving toward the ileum.
Villi are covered by a simple columnar epithelium of absorptive cells
and goblet cells.
This is lined with a Simple columnar epithelium with Goblet cell. A
number of structural specializations that serves to increase the area
of surface exposed the lumen.
1. Plicae cirulares (valves of kerckring): These are grossly visible
concentric folds that extend half to two thirds of the way around
the lumen. This is a permanent structure involving both the mucosa
and the submucosa.
2. Intestinal villi: These are minute finger-like projections of the
mucosa having a length of 0.5 to 1.5 mm. They cover the entire
surface of the mucosa and give it a characteristic velvety
appearance in fresh state. They are the most numerous in the
duodenum and a proximal jejunum. Each villus is drained by a
single, blind ending lymphatic capillary known as lacteal.
3. Crypts of Lieberkuhn (intestinal glands): These are simple tubular
glands, which extend down into the lamina propria nearly to the thin layer
of smooth muscle comprising the muscularis mucosae.
Three types of cells can be distinguished in the epithelium:
Intestinal absorptive cells
Basal granular cells (Argentaffin or Enterochromafin cells)
Paneth cells occuring in small groups only in the depths of the crypts of
Lieberkuhn. They are pyramidal in form with a round or oval nucleus situated
near the base and conspicous secretory granules in the apical cytoplasm.
The cytoplasm is basophilic with large acidophilic granules. These granules
Absorptive surface of the small intestine.
(a): The mucosa and submucosa are the inner two of the gut's four concentric layers. (b): They form circular folds or plicae circulares,
which increase the absorptive area. (c, d): They are lined by a dense covering of finger-like projections called villi. Internally each villus
contains lamina propria connective tissue with microvasculature and lymphatics called lacteals. Villi are covered with a simple columnar
epithelium composed of absorptive enterocytes and goblet cells. (e): At the apical cell membrane of each enterocyte are located dense
microvilli, which serve to increase greatly the absorptive surface of the cell. Between the villi the covering epithelium invaginates to form
short tubular intestinal glands or crypts, which include stem cells for the epithelium and Paneth cells which prevent intestinal flora from
becoming concentrated in these glands where damage to the stem cells could occur.
Large intestine is about 160 cm long. The surface is relatively
smooth, lacking the rugae and plicae circulares. This is
divided into caecum, colon and rectum.
Mucosa : Simple columnar epithelium with Goblet cell
(a): Transverse section of the colon shows the muscularis
externa (ME), including a taenia coli cut transversely in the
lower part of the figure, the submucosa
(S), the mucosa (M) filled with tubular intestinal glands.
Some of these glands are cut longitudinally, but most seen
here are cut transversely. X14. H&E.
Transversely cut glands are seen to consist of simple columnar
epithelium surrounded a tubular lumen (asterisk) and embedded
in lamina propria (LP) with
many free lymphocytes. Lymphocytes can also be seen
penetrating the epithelium (arrow). X200. H&E.
(c): Longitudinal section of one gland stained for
glycoproteins shows mucus in the lumen and two major cell
types in the epithelium: goblet cells (G) and other columnar cells
specialized for water absorption.
(d): TEM micrograph of the absorptive cells, called colonocytes,
reveals short microvilli at their apical ends, prominent Golgi
complexes above the
nuclei, and dilated intercellular spaces with interdigitating leaflets
of cell membrane (L), a sign of active water transport. The
absorption of water is passive,
following the active transport of sodium from the basolateral
surfaces of the epithelial cells. X3900.
ANUS OR CANAL
Epithelium: Stratified squamous epithelium
Lamina propria: Dense irregular connective tissue
containing large veins which when abnormally distended
and varicose present at the anus as hemorrhoids.
Muscularis externa: Circular muscle layer increase greatly
in thickness and forms the internal anal sphincter. Below,
this is replaced by external anal sphincter. Above abd
external to this sphincter is the levator ani muscle (skeletal