Mucous membrane

Mucous membrane

Histological section taken from the gastric antrum, showing the mucosa of the stomach
Precursor ectoderm
Latin tunica mucosa
MeSH D009092

Anatomical terminology

A mucous membrane or mucosa is a membrane that lines various cavities in the body and surrounds internal organs. It consists of one or more layers of epithelial cells overlying a layer of loose connective tissue. It is of ectodermal origin and is continuous with the skin at various body openings such as the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, the urethral opening and the anus, frenulum of tongue, tongue. Some mucous membranes secrete mucus, a thick protective fluid. The function of the membrane is to stop pathogens and dirt from entering the body and to prevent bodily tissues from becoming dehydrated.


The mucous membrane is a lining of mostly ectodermal origin. It consists of an epithelium (one or more layers of epithelial cells)[1] and an underlying lamina propria of loose connective tissue. Mucosae line various cavities of the body that are either externally exposed to the environment or are internal organs, and the mucous membranes ensure that the underlying lamina propria of connective tissue remains moist. They are at several places contiguous with skin: at the nostrils, the lips of the mouth, the eyelids, the ears, the trachea, the stomach, the genital area, and the anus.[1]

In the female, the glans clitoridis and the clitoral hood have mucous membranes.[2] In the male, the glans penis (the head of the penis) and the inner layer of the foreskin have mucous membranes.[3] The urethra is also lined with a mucous membrane.[2]


Some examples include:


See also


  1. 1 2 "Mucous membrane". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  2. 1 2 Edward Rigby (1841). A System of Midwifery: With numerous wood cuts. With notes and additional illustrations. Lea & Blanchard. pp. 46–.
  3. "Anatomy and Function" (PDF). coloradonocirc. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  4. "What is a Mucous Membrane?". wiseGeek. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  5. "The Role of the Mucus Barrier in Digestion" (PDF). doi:10.1007/s13228-012-0021-1.
  6. "Mucus". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 1 August 2015.

External links

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