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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.  

A villus appears in standard longitudinal section in the lower third of this image, displaying, its simple columnar epithelium, its core of lamina propria, and its lacteal.

In the upper two-thirds of the image, the plane of section shaves through the epithelium without going deeper into lamina propria.  Such a section provides a different perspective on the arrangement of the epithelial cells.

The arrangement of small, round nuclei demonstrates how the columnar absorptive epithelial cells are closely packed together in a hexagonal array.

The empty "bubbles" (white arrows in the inset to right) are mucous droplets of goblet cells.  Such a plane of section provides a good sense of the relative numbers of goblet cells vs. absorptive cells, and also suggests how bulging goblets may disturb the neat arrangement of absorptive cells.


More small intestine examples:



Comments and questions:

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