PROF. P. MOTTA / DEPT. OF ANATOMY / UNIVERSITY "LA SAPIENZA", ROME / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PROF. P. MOTTA / DEPT. OF ANATOMY / UNIVERSITY "LA SAPIENZA", ROME / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the epithelium in the oesophagus. Individual epithelial cells are seen here, each with a highly folded surface. These microfolds are called micro- plicae. At lower centre left, an obvious boundary to one cell can be seen. This stratified squamous epithelium consists of flattened cells that occur many layers thick. As a muscular non-absorptive tube, the oesophagus transports swallowed food to the stomach. The microfolds on the cells keep the oesophagus moist; trap mucous to lubricate passing food; and strengthen the epithelium against food abrasion. Magnification: x2,900 at 6x7cm size. Magnification: x4,650 at 4x5 inch size.
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