The esophagus gives passage native the dental cavity come the stomach. Contrasted to various other regions that the GI tract, the stomach is a reasonably simple tube. Practical specializations room correspondingly few.

The esophageal lining is safeguarded by a stratified squamous epithelium. Because this epithelium is typically not exposed come dryness or come abrasion, it is non-keratinized.

Scattered submucosal mucous glands provide lubrication.

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A well-developed muscularis offers peristaltic propulsion that food. (Even when upside down, the esophagus deserve to push food and also drink come the stomach.)

The simple layers of the GI tract are especially distinctive in the esophagus, in comparison to the vagina.

In the esophageal mucosa --

Esophageal epithelium is non-keratinized stratified squamous. Keep in mind that the basal surface ar of the epithelium have the right to be deeply indented through connective tissue papillae.

In oblique section through the epithelium, the connective organization papillae have the right to look like "islands", supposedly surrounded by epithelium. Beginning students commonly mistake these because that glandular structures.

Epithelial continuity is vital for regular function. A breach in the epithelium create an ulcer. For picture of an esophageal ulcer, watch WebPath or Milikowski & Berman"s color Atlas of an easy Histopathology, pp. 162-163.

Esophageal epithelium might be transformed to a simple columnar form in the problem called Barrett"s esophagus. The epithelium is variously explained as resembling that of gastric mucosa (i.e., through tubular glands) or of intestinal mucosa (i.e., through goblet cells). The cause of this condition remains uncertain, but it might represent a metaplastic an answer to chronic inflammation (caused, e.g., by gastric reflux). Barrett"s esophagus deserve to be connected with esophageal obstruction from scarring and/or carcinoma. (For images, walk to WebPath and/or check out Milikowski & Berman"s color Atlas of basic Histopathology, pp. 234-236.)

in ~ the junction v the stomach, the stratified squamous epithelium the the esophagus provides an abrupt shift to the simple columnar epithelium that the gastric mucosa.

Esophageal lamina propria is less cellular (fewer lymphocytes) than that in the stomach and intestine, presumably since the safety stratified squamous epithelium is much more effective at maintaining out international antigens.

Lymph nodules room uncommon in the esophagus, however they may take place here as somewhere else along the GI tract.

Esophageal muscularis mucosa is noticably thicker than that in the stomach and intestine, and includes only longitudinal muscle fibers.

Because the longitudinal fibers take place in bundles, a longitudinal section passing in between bundles might not include any type of evidence that muscularis mucosae.

Connective organization of the esophageal submucosa is typically an ext fibrous and also less cellular than that in the lamina propria of the mucosa.

tiny mucous glands space scattered in the esophageal submucosa. Ducts overcome the mucosa and branch into tubular secretory units which room lined by mucus-secreting cells. This glands carry out mucus because that lubricating the passage of food down the esophagus, augmenting the function of salivary glands.

In the esophagus, the submucosal vascular plexus includes especially large venous spaces. These may enlarge right into esophageal varices, particularly in situations of portal hypertension (an rise in press in the portal vein, because of cirrhosis). Such varices bring a comprehensive risk of rupture through fatal bleeding right into the esophageal lumen. (For more, go to WebPath or view Robbins Pathologic basis of Disease.)

The muscularis externa the the esophagus consists of the traditional inner circular and outer longitudinal layers of smooth muscle, with Auerbach"s plexus in between.

In the top third
the the esophagus, the muscularis is composed of striated muscle. In the reduced two-thirds of the esophagus, the muscularis is smooth muscle.

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In the transitional region
(thumbnails to right), both types of muscle might be seen.

The vagina offers an instructive contrast with the esophagus. The vagina and the esophagus are both tubular organs through a mucosa lined by non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium. Thus these 2 organs show up superficially similar. However, majority of smooth muscle are interwoven with connective tissue throughout the wall surface of the vagina, so that there is no clean demarcation that submucosal and muscularis layers.

Certain special functions which differentiate these guts (e.g., diversity of glycogen warehouse in vaginal epithelium, submucosal glands in the esophagus) room not constantly apparent in routine sections. So the difference in between "layers distinct" and "layers not distinct" may be the easiest and also most reliable method to distinguish these two organs (e.g., on a handy evaluation).

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smashville247.netC / institution of medicine / Anatomy / David King last updated: 26 august 2021 / dgk