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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 10 - Digestive System

Plate 10.208 Rectum and Anal Canal

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


Plate 10.208 Rectum and Anal Canal

Cat, 10% formalin, H. & E., 5.4 x.


This plate shows the changes that take place at the recto-anal junction. Note the transition in the type of epithelium from the simple columnar of the rectum to a stratified epithelium in the anal canal. The non- keratinized stratified squamous epithelium of the anal canal changes into epidermis at the anal orifice. The external anal sphincter surrounds the whole length of the anal canal and keeps the anal canal and anus closed. During defecation, the sphincter is relaxed. Note the levator ani muscle at the recto-anal junction. This striated muscle fuses with the longitudinal smooth muscle coat of the rectum. Inferior rectal vessels supply the muscles and skin of the anal region.

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