Intestinal lining, SEM

Intestinal lining, SEM

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Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Intestinal lining. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a freeze-fractured surface of the small intestine. The surface consists of deep folds, called villi, that have been sectioned in this view. The intestinal surface (orange, upper frame) is exposed to food. The underlying structure of this surface is seen in the sectioned area. Surface (epithelial) cells are supported by connective tissue that forms the core of each fold (villus). The folds increase the area for the absorption of nutrients from food. The height of a villus varies in a small intestine from 0.3 to 0.8 millimetres. Magnification: x 250 at 10 centimetres wide.

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