MANFRED KAGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. MANFRED KAGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Light micrograph (transverse section) of the human vagina, or birth canal, showing the striated squamous epithelium (bottom pink) that lines the passageway. The epithelium is supported by the lamina propria (mauve) containing blood vessels and nerves. The epithelim and lamina propria jointly form the mucosal layer. The epithelium is kept moist by secretions from glands in the cervix and uterus and by a fluid rich in glycogen, which passes from the lamina propria to the epithelium. Commensal bacteria metabolise glycogen to form lactic acid, which prevents the growth of harmful micro-organisms in the vagina. Magnification: X50 at 6x7cm , X22 at 35mm size.
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