Foundations - Histology Epithelia and Skin

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Histology terminology cartoon

Background and Self-directed Learning for Medicine Foundations.

Practical - Histology Epithelia and Skin Virtual Slides by Patrick de Permentier.

This current page content is not part of the Foundations practical class.

Links: Histology Introduction | Histology Epithelia and Skin



  • Obtain an understanding of the histological appearance of various types of epithelia based on their cellular shape and number of layers.
  • To examine the histological appearance of 2 other unique types of epithelia namely pseudostratified and transitional.
  • To demonstrate some sites where the types of epithelia can be located
  • To demonstrate certain epithelial specialisations such as microvilli and cilia.
  • Relate the morphology of the epithelia to their various functions.


  • To know the microscopic structure of the skin e.g. epidermis, dermis and hypodermis.
  • To know the histological differences between hairy (thin) and glabrous (thick) skin.
  • To know the histology of associated structures e.g. eccrine and apocrine sweat glands,

sebaceous glands, and hair.

  • To know the histological features of some sensory receptors namely: Pacinian and Meissner



Epithelium forms continuous layers of cells that cover surfaces and line cavities of the body.

Epithelium histology cartoon 01.jpg Epithelium histology cartoon 02.jpg
Epithelia cell shape Epithelia sectioning appearance

Epithelia Classification

  1. The number of cell layers: a single layer = simple epithelium; epithelia composed of more than one layer = stratified epithelia.
  2. The shape of the component cells when seen in sections taken at right angles to the epithelial surface: the shape may be squamous (flattened), cuboidal (about equal dimensions), or columnar (taller than it is wide).
  3. The presence of surface specializations e.g. cilia, microvilli and keratin.



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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2019, September 16) Embryology Foundations - Histology Epithelia and Skin. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2019, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G