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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 2: Epithelial Tissue

Plate 2.15: Squamous and Cuboidal Epithelial Cells

Kidney tubules medulla

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed

Kidney tubules medulla

Plate 2.15: Squamous and Cuboidal Epithelial Cells

Rabbit, Helly's fluid,
iron hematoxylin-orange G, 612 x.

A diagnostic feature of the collecting tubules of the kidney is the appearance of distinct cell boundaries. The collecting tubules, under the influence of the antidiuretic hormone that is secreted into the vascular system in the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland (hypophysis), become permeable to water, which is reabsorbed into the vascular system, thereby concentrating the urine. in the absence of the antidiuretic hormone, the urine is dilute or hypotonic with respect to the blood.

Squamous epithelium: Single layer of flattened or squamous cells with ovoid nuclei bulging into the lumen of the thin loop of Henle*. The thin loop of Henle serves an essential role in concentrating urine, rendering it hypertonic with respect to blood plasma.

Cuboidal epithelium: Single layer of cuboidal cells (height and width of cells about equal) lining the collecting tubule. Spherical, darkly staining nuclei; clear cytoplasm.

*Henle was a nineteenth-century German anatomist, histologist, and pathologist.

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