The mucosal epithelium undergoes a sharp transformation at the junction between the stomach and the esophagus.
A pathological condition known as Barrett's esophagus can yield a similar appearance, of adjacent regions of squamous and columnar mucosa. (For more, go to WebPath or see Milikowski & Berman's Color Atlas of Basic Histopathology.)
Esophageal mucosa is lined by non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium.
The stomach is lined by simple columnar epithelium.
The surface mucous cells which comprise this epithelium secrete a sticky, protective mucous, but the esophageal lining has no such protection.
The "solid" appearance of the gastric pits is an artifact of sectioning. The plane of section has passed tangentially along the side of the pit, so that tips of the surface mucous cells appear to fill the pit.
Lymphocytes are abundant in the lamina propria of this specimen.
in other regions
of the GI tract
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Last updated: 27 December 2001 / dgk