DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Goblet cell (green) in the mucosal lining of the small intestine (part of the digestive tract), coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM). A goblet cell secretes the mucus to protect the lining of the intestine and helps neutralize stomach acid. Inside the goblets cells are many mucigen granules (steel blue). When these are released into the intestine they will combine with water to form mucin, the main constituent of mucus. Surrounding the goblet cell are columnar epithelial cells (purple cell membrane outline; turquoise nucleus; red mitochondria). The brush-like surface of the columnar epithelial cells consists of microvilli (orange), tiny finger-like projections, which increase the surface area available for absorption of nutrients such as lipids, proteins and fat-soluble vitamins. The intestinal lining is supplied with a rich network of blood vessels (not seen) to transport the nutrients around the body. Magnification: x720 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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