Difference between Simple and Compound Epithelium

Simple Epithelium

Simple epithelium is made of a single layer of cells. It functions as a lining for ducts, body cavities and tubes. The simple epithelium is of three types –

  • Squamous epithelium – It is a thin layer of flat cells with irregular boundaries. E.g., Cells lining the walls of blood vessels.
  • Cuboidal epithelium – It is a mono-layer of cube-like cells. E.g., Cells lining the ducts of glands.
  • Columnar epithelium – It is a mono-layer of slender, tall cells. E.g., Cells lining the stomach and intestine.

Compound Epithelium

The compound epithelium consists of more than one layer of cells. It is usually protective in function. They protect against mechanical and chemical stress. Also, it has a limited role in absorption and secretion. These cells cover the skin, buccal cavity, pancreatic ducts, inner lining of salivary ducts and pharynx.

Difference between Simple and Compound Epithelium

Epithelial Tissue

Simple Epithelium

Compound Epithelium

It is a single layer of cells. It consists of more than one layer of cells.
Its main function is absorption, secretion and diffusion. Its main function is protection against mechanical and chemical stress.
It is found in the lining of blood vessels, air sacs, stomach, intestine, etc. It is found in the lining of the skin, pharynx, buccal cavity, etc.

Also Read: Epithelial and Connective Tissues

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the function of simple epithelium?

Simple epithelial cells cover the lining of ducts, body cavities and tubes. The squamous epithelium found in blood vessels and lungs (air sacs) help in diffusion. The cuboidal epithelium in the tubes of the nephron and ducts of glands help in secretion and absorption. The columnar epithelium in the intestine and stomach also functions the same.

What is ciliated epithelium?

The cuboidal or columnar cells having cilia on their free cell surface are termed ciliated epithelium. It helps to move particles in a specific direction on the epithelium. They are present in the inner surface of fallopian tubes and bronchioles.

What is a cell junction?

All epithelium cells are held together by intercellular structures. It is a multiprotein complex that creates adhesion between the cells. Also, it provides both structural and functional links. These are called cell junctions. The three types of cell junctions are – tight junctions, adherens junctions and gap junctions.

Also see: Epithelial Tissues – Types and Functions.

Keep exploring BYJU’S Biology for more exciting topics.

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