stratified epitheliummedical dictionary

<pathology> An epithelium composed of multiple layers of cells, only the basal layer being in contact with the basal lamina.

The basal layer is of stem cells that divide to produce the cells of the upper layers, in skin, these become heavily keratinised before dying and being shed as squames. Stratified epithelia usually have a mechanical or protective role.

This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology

(11 Mar 2008)