Simple columnar epithelium

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Simple columnar epithelium
Normal gastric mucosa intermed mag.jpg
The stomach wall, with simple columnar epithelium visible as a lining at the top.
Latinsimple columnar epithelium
Anatomical terminology

A simple columnar epithelium is a single layer of columnar cells attached to the basement membrane, with oval-shaped nuclei located in the basal region. In humans, a simple columnar epithelium lines most organs of the digestive tract including the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Simple columnar epithelia line the uterus.


Simple columnar epithelium is further divided into two categories: ciliated and non-ciliated (glandular). The ciliated part of the simple columnar epithelium has tiny hairs which help move mucus and other substances up the respiratory tract.


Non-ciliated types are found in the digestive tract. Ciliated types are found within bronchioles of the respiratory tract and in the oviduct of the female reproductive tract. The non-ciliated columnar epithelium is also found in the inner lining of small intestines.


Ciliated columnar epithelium moves mucus and other substances via cilia and is found in the upper respiratory tract, the fallopian tubes, the uterus, and the central part of the spinal cord. They are the primary target of infection for "common cold viruses" such as coronaviruses, influenza virus and rhinoviruses.[citation needed] These viruses may kill the ciliated cells or stop the cilia beating. In either case, mucus builds up and forms a good site for secondary bacterial infections, resulting in mucus.[citation needed]

A ciliated columnar epithelium lines the lumen of the uterine tube, where currents generated by the cilia propel the egg cell toward the uterus.


These are found in the lining sections of the gastrointestinal tract and may be brush bordered.

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