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) 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.
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SIUC / School
of Medicine / Anatomy / David
Last updated: 10 January 2002/ dgk