Cellular junctions in human oesophageal epithelium

J Pathol. 1978 Nov;126(3):157-63. doi: 10.1002/path.1711260304.


The appearances of this intercellular junctions in normal and in inflamed oesophageal epithelium are described. Typical hemidesmosomes occur along the abluminat aspect of the basal cells. Desmosomes are most frequent in the prickle cell layer, where desmosome fields may occur, and in the lower functional cell layer. Their fate in the upper layers is not known. Gap junctions are few in the basal cell layer and rare in the most superficial layers. They are maximal in the prickle cell layer. Tight junctions only occur in inflamed tissue between the most superficial cells usually as part of a lateral intercellular junctional complex that also contains belt desmosomes. They may represent attempts by a non-keratinised epithelium to increase its defences against toxic luminal contents.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Desmosomes / ultrastructure
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Esophagitis / pathology
  • Esophagus / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Junctions / ultrastructure*