Squamous epithelium

The Pathology Dictionary Team
March 8, 2023

What is squamous epithelium?

Squamous epithelium is a thin layer of tissue made up of flat, squamous cells. The squamous epithelium forms a barrier on the surface of an organ that protects the tissue below from injury and infection.

squamous epithelium

Where is squamous epithelium normally found in the body?

Squamous epithelium can be found in various parts of the body, including the skin, mouth, esophagus, vagina, cervix, and anus. It is also found in the respiratory tract, where it lines the nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi.

Is squamous epithelium normal?

Yes. Squamous epithelium is normally found in many parts of the body including the skin mouth, esophagus, respiratory tract, vagina, cervix, and anus. The thickness and properties of the squamous epithelium may vary depending on the location in the body and the specific functions it serves in that location.

What does it mean if the squamous epithelium is described as reactive?

Reactive means that the cells in the squamous epithelium have been injured and look abnormal when examined under the microscope. The injury can be caused by infection, physical stress, or exposure to chemicals or medications. Reactive does not mean cancer.

What does it mean if the squamous epithelium is described as metaplastic?

Metaplastic squamous epithelium means that the squamous cells have replaced other types of cells that are normally found in that location of the body. For example, the epithelium on the inside of the bladder is normally made up of specialized urothelial cells. Metaplastic squamous epithelium in the bladder means that the normal urothelial cells have been replaced by squamous cells. This type of change usually happens after prolonged physical stress or inflammation.

What is the most common type of cancer to start from squamous epithelium?

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of cancer to develop from squamous epithelium. The cancer is made up of abnormal squamous cells that have spread into the surrounding tissue.

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