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The MUCOSAE of the respiratory,gastrointestinal and uro-genital tracts are covered by epithelial cells. Epithelial

Summary: The MUCOSAE of the respiratory,gastrointestinal and uro-
genital tracts are covered by epithelial cells. Epithelial
cells are found as sheets that have TIGHT JUNCTIONS,which
effectively divide the cell surface into two distinct
domains -- the apical and basolateral surfaces.
Functionally,epithelial cells regulate the flow of ions and
solutes,detect and respond to stimuli from the external
environment and form a protective barrier that sepa-
rates the apical aspect of the mucosa from the underly-
ing tissue.These functions are vital for both the develop-
ment and maintenance of organ function.The normal
function and architecture of mucosal surfaces are con-
stantly challenged by the presence of ingested and
inhaled toxins, parasites, bacteria and viruses, which
after invasion or disruption of the epithelium,results in
infection and disease.To protect these sensitive surfaces,
the body has developed a complex set of nonspecific and
specific mechanisms to neutralize pathogens1,2
These nonspecific mechanisms include the action of


Source: Apodaca, Gerard - Departments of Medicine & Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh


Collections: Biology and Medicine