STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Small intestine. Light micrograph of a section through the finger-like projections (villi) of the duodenum, the uppermost part of the small intestine. These increase the surface area for the absorption of food. Within the columnar epithelium of the outer surface (blue) are goblet cells (stained purple with special staining), which secrete mucus to lubricate food and prevent self-digestion. This special stain for mucus also highlights the microvilli on the surface of the villi. The lamina propria (central core, pink) contains the blood supply that transports the products of digestion. Magnification: x350 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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