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

Plate 2.19: Pseudostratified Columnar Epithelium with Stereocilia

Epididymal duct

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

Epididymal duct

Plate 2.19: Pseudostratified Columnar Epithelium with Stereocilia

Rhesus monkey, Helly's fluid, H. & E., 612 x.

The epididymal duct is lined by a pseudostratified columnar epithelium containing two types of cells: tall columnar cells bearing so-called stereocilia and rounded basal cells. The cells forming a pseudostratified epithelium deceptively appear to be stratified in two or more layers. The cells actually vary in height, but all are in contact with the basement membrane.

Columnar cells: Tall cells bearing stereocilia. These are non-motile processes of the columnar cells projecting into the lumen. Although they are called cilia, electron micrographs show that they lack the structural characteristics of cilia, and they resemble greatly elongated microvilli. In this figure, they are seen in both cross and longitudinal section. Nuclei of columnar cells are elongated and lie at different levels.

Basal cells: Rounded or triangular cells, lying against the basement membrane, form a discontinous layer around the duct.

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