Mucous membrane

A mucous membrane or mucosa is a membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs. 

It consists of one or more layers of epithelial cells overlying a layer of loose connective tissue. 

It is mostly of endodermal origin.

Mucous membrane is continuous with the skin at body openings such as the eyes, eyelids, ears, inside the nose, inside the mouth, lips, the genital areas, the urethral opening and the anus. 

Some mucous membranes secrete mucus.

Mucus is a thick protective fluid. 

Mucous membrane function is to stop pathogens and dirt from entering the body and to prevent tissues from becoming dehydrated.

The mucosa is composed of one or more layers of epithelial cells that secrete mucus.

The mucosa has an underlying lamina propria of loose connective tissue.

The type of cells and type of mucus secreted vary from organ to organ.

Mucous membranes line the digestive, respiratory and reproductive tracts.

Mucous membranes are the primary barrier between the external world and the interior of the body.

Mucous membranes 

The mucosal provides a physical barrier, and contain key parts of the immune system and serve as the interface between the body and the microbiome.

Mucous membranes:

Endometrium: the mucosa of the uterus

Gastric mucosa

Intestinal mucosa

Nasal mucosa

Olfactory mucosa

Oral mucosa

Penile mucosa

Respiratory mucosa

Vaginal mucosa

Frenulum of tongue

Anal canal


One of its main functions is to keep the tissue moist: respiratory tract, including the mouth and nose.

The mucous membrane also plays a role in absorbing and transforming nutrients.

The mucosa in the stomach protects it from stomach acid, and mucosa lining the bladder protects the underlying tissue from urine.

The mucous membrane of the uterus is the endometrium, and ii is eliminated during menstruation.

Niacin and vitamin A are essential nutrients that help maintain mucous membranes.

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