Stratified epithelium refers to several layers of the same or different kinds of epithelial cells.
What is epithelial tissue?
Epithelial tissue or epithelium forms the outer covering of the skin and also lines the body cavity. It forms the lining of respiratory, digestive, reproductive and excretory tracts. They perform various functions such as absorption, protection, sensation and secretion.
Types of epithelial tissue
Epithelial cells are divided into three groups based on their form and function.
- Squamous cells are small and smooth.
- Cuboidal cells are small cylindrical cells with hexagonal cross-sections.
- Columnar cells are column-like cylindrical cells with a nucleus at the base.
Epithelial tissue is classified into simple epithelium and stratified or compound epithelium based on the number of layers present.
- Simple epithelium is made up of just one layer of a cell and serves primarily as a secretory or absorptive organ.
- The compound or stratified epithelium is made of two or more layers of cells and serves primarily as a protective layer.