mucous membrane

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mucous membrane

a mucus-secreting membrane that lines body cavities or passages that are open to the external environment

Mucous Membrane

 

(also mucosa), a membrane 0.5–4 mm thick that lines the inner surfaces of the digestive and respiratory organs, the urogenital system, the accessory sinuses of the nose, the middle ear, and the excretory ducts of glands. The name “mucous membrane” is derived from mucus, a glandular secretion that keeps the surfaces of mucous membranes moist.

A mucous membrane consists of one or more epithelial layers, a connective-tissue layer, a muscle plate formed by smooth muscle cells, and a tunica submucosa. The tunica submucosa, which is on the external side of the muscle plate, consists of a flexible layer of areolar tissue that separates the mucous membrane from the tissues underneath. Depending on the functions of the particular organ, mucosal epithelium may be multilay-ered and flat or monolayered and cylindrical, prismatic, cubical, or ciliated (in the airways). Its surface may be smooth, plicate, or villous; for example, in the small intestine the mucous membrane forms folds, villi, and crypts.

Located in the mucous membrane and tunica submucosa are glands, terminal nerve branches, blood and lymphatic vessels, and masses of lymphoid tissue, for example, follicles and tonsils. Mucous glands may be unicellular or multicellular. Unicellular mucous glands consist of goblet cells located between surface epithelial cells. Multicellular mucous glands may be simple tubular or alveolar glands, which are found in the stomach and small intestine, or complex mucous glands, which are found in the digestive tract and the airways.

V. V. KUPRIIANOV

mucous membrane

[′myü·kəs ′mem‚brān]
(histology)
The type of membrane lining cavities and canals which have communication with air; it is kept moist by glandular secretions. Also known as tunica mucosa.
References in periodicals archive ?
The outer surface of all mucus membranes are protected by two types of mucin molecules - one that is secreted and is in constant motion to sweep away trapped foreign material from the membrane surface, and the other that remains rooted in the membrane surface.
The lamina propria and muscularis mucosa of the inner mucus membrane was normal, and the vascular endothelium was regular.
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Kawasaki disease, which was named after a Japanese who first described the condition in 1967, is also referred to as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome because of typical changes in the mucus membranes lining the lips and mouth.
This fine mist cleans and soothes membrane walls, irrigates the nasal cavity by softening and humidifying mucus membranes, and thins nasal secretions for improved mucous drainage from the sinuses.
This causes inflammation and irritation of the mucus membranes of the eyes, nose and ear passages.
In addition, the mucus membranes in the eyes, nose, and throat are already raw and irritated by these pollutants.
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