Ciliated Epithelium

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ciliated epithelium

[′sil·ē‚ād·əd ep·ə′thēl·ē·əm]
Epithelium composed of cells bearing cilia on their free surfaces.

Ciliated Epithelium


in animals and man, epithelial tissue whose cells are furnished with cilia.

The movements of the cilia of each epithelial cell and of the epithelial layer as a whole are closely coordinated. Each cilium is ahead of the next in its phase of movement by a certain length of time, so that the movement of the surface of the layer as a whole appears wavelike. Ciliated epithelium lines the respiratory passages, part of the genitourinary tract, the eustachian tube, part of the tympanic cavity, the central canal of the spinal cord, and the ventricles of the brain. In some animals it is found in the integuments (for locomotion) and in the alimentary canal. The motion of the cilia moves the liquid medium and the solid particles in it. Thus, for example, the cilia help remove dust from the respiratory passages.

On the basis of electron microscopy, scientists have advanced hypotheses suggesting a link between the coordinated movement of the cilia and the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). However, the phase of the movement (contraction or relaxation) at which the ATP is utilized has not yet been determined.


Shmagina, A. P. Mertsatel’noe dvizhenie. Moscow, 1948.
Arronet, N. I. Myshechnye i kletochnye sokratitel’nye (dvigatel’nye) modeli. Leningrad, 1971.


References in periodicals archive ?
9-11) Ciliated epithelium is commonly seen in the respiratory tract, and it is found in the fetal esophagus from the 10th to the 20th week of gestation.
Histologic examination of a cyst wall biopsy specimen identified fibrous tissue with chronic inflammation and a focus of ciliated epithelium consistent with a mucocele.
We found that (1) in most cases, the types of epithelium were generally the same in both areas--pseudostratified cylindrical ciliated epithelium with goblet cells (respiratory epithelium), stratified cuboidal epithelium, and stratified squamous nonkeratinized epithelium; (2) the APINC had more respiratory epithelium than the APS; (3) the APS had more squamous epithelium than the APINC; (4) the basement membrane of the APINC was thicker than that of the APS; (5) moderate chronic inflammatory infiltrate was more common in the APINc, and mild infiltrate was more common in the APS; and (6) the APINC had more mucous glands and the APS had more serous glands.