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Small Intestine, villus


Each villus of the small intestine is lined by simple columnar epithelium composed primarily of absorptive cells (enterocytes), with scattered goblet cells.  

Note how the nucleus of each goblet cell is displaced toward the basal end of the cell by the mass of mucus in the apical cytoplasm.

(Enteroendocrine cells also occur in the intestinal epithelium, but none are apparent on this micrograph.)

Capillaries in the lamina propria transport absorbed nutrients into the portal circulation.  (Each villus typically contains a lacteal as well; none, however, is visible in this section.)

Note the epithelial cells sloughing off at the apex of this villus (blue arrowhead).  The entire intestinal epithlium is continuously sliding up the villi (the "epithelial escalator"), as replacement cells are produced by stem cells in the crypts.

More small intestine examples:


Comments and questions:

SIUC / School of Medicine / Anatomy / David King
Last updated:  27 May 2022 / dgk