Small intestine villus (human), coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM). Two columnar epithelial cells with microvilli on surface and epithelial glycocalyx. Note the junctional complexes where the cells are connected (terminal bar). Starting from the base of the microvilli the regions are - outer region: Zonula occludens (tight junction) - middle region: Zonula adherens - inner region: macula adherens (desmosome). The small intestine is the part of the gastrointestinal tract between the stomach and the large intestine. It is where most of the digestion and absorption of food takes place, via the villi, which increase its surface area. The villi have an outer epithelial cell layer (columnar epithelial cells) that possess many tiny microvilli. Microvilli are tiny finger-like projections, which increase the surface area available for absorption of nutrients such as lipids, proteins and fat-soluble vitamins. Magnification: x6,480 when shortest.
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