Pathology dictionary -


Mucosa is the tissue that covers the inner surfaces of the body including body cavities and hollow organs. The surface of the eye is also covered by mucosa.


Examples of organs covered by mucosa:

  • Inside of the mouth and throat.

  • Surface of the eye.

  • Esophagus.

  • Stomach.

  • Small intestine.

  • Colon.

While all of these surfaces are called mucosa, they are not all necessarily made up of the same types of cells. For example, the mucosa lining the inside of the mouth is composed of squamous cells while the inside of the colon is lined by glandular cells.


Mucosal creates a barrier between the outside world and the inside of the body. If the mucosa becomes damages or lost, infectious agents such as bacteria or fungus can get into the body.


Many types of cancer start from the cells in the mucosa. Cancers that start from cells in the mucosa are called carcinomas.


Carcinomas that start from mucosa made up of squamous cells are called squamous cell carcinoma while those that start from mucosa lined by glandular cells are called adenocarcinoma.

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