JOHN BURBIDGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BURBIDGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Vaginal mucosa. Light micrograph of a section through the mucosa (mucus membrane) of a human vagina. The top, folded layer (light pink) is the stratified squamous epithelium. This consists of multiple layers of flat (squamous) cells which are sloughed off at the top (seen in centre) and con- stantly replenished from below. The top of the ep- ithelium produces glycogen, which is converted to acid by symbiotic bacteria in the vagina, protect- ing the area from pathogenic microorganisms. Under the squamous epithelium is the lamina propria (dark pink), an elastic layer containing blood vessels, connective tissue and lymph nodes. Magnification x25 at 6x9 size.
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