Nasopharynx surface, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Seen here are: a ciliated nasal epithelial cell surrounded by other squamous nasal epithelial cells. The nasopharynx lies behind the nose and above the level of the soft palate. Ciliated nasal epithelial cells occur throughout the nasal lining . They have hair-like structures known as cilia. Coordinated, wave-like beating of the cilia propels the mucus to the back of the pharynx, where it is swallowed, thus removing foreign debris. Interspersed amongst the cilia are microvilli. Stratified squamous nasal epithelial cells line the surface of the nasopharynx and surround the ciliated nasal epithelial cell. The epithelial cell surfaces are covered with tiny microvilli that increase the cell surface area. Mucus, secreted by cells in the epithelial lining (not seen), traps foreign objects, such as bacteria, preventing them from entering the lungs. Magnification: x2,000 when shortest axis.
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