Pleura & peritoneum

Topic Completed: 1 December 2013

Minor changes: 2 September 2020

Copyright: 2003-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Pleura[TI] normal histology

Vaidehi Avadhani, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 1,751
Page views in 2020 to date: 1,470
Cite this page: Avadhani V. Histology. website. Accessed September 26th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Lined by mesothelial cells overlying vascularized connective tissue
  • Mesothelium provides smooth, low friction surface to facilitate the gliding motion of lungs in pleural cavity, heart in pericardial cavity, viscera in abdominal cavity
  • Gliding facilitated by numerous surface microvilli, thick glycocalyx, secretion of hyaluronic acid and other glycosaminoglycans
Mesothelial cells
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Monolayer of flat or low cuboidal cells with bland and uniform nuclei, fine delicate chromatin, inconspicuous nucleoli
  • In fine needle aspirates, have well defined cytoplasm and distinct cell borders

Positive stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Apical tight junctions, desmosomes, surface microvilli, cytoplasmic tonofilaments in bundles
Connective tissue cells
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Resemble fibroblasts

Positive stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Resemble fibroblasts
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