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Intestinal villi cell loss, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Close-up of the tips of villi in the small intestine, showing cells (green) on their tips that are about to be shed as part of the normal cell replacement cycle. The villi are the finger-like projections that line the surface of the small intestine and absorb nutrients from digested food. The surface of each villus is covered by hundreds of cells called enterocytes, which migrate from the base (where they are formed) to the tip, being shed at the rate of around one a minute. Magnification: x700 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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