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Esophageal Histology

  • The esophagus possesses all of the basic histological layers of the GI Tract (See: GI Tract Histology). In the esophagus these layers are specialized for rapid bulk movement of food from the mouth to the stomach and little in the way of absorption or secretion.
Basic Components
  • Esophageal Mucosa
    • Esophageal Epithelium: The esophageal epithelium is an unkeratinized stratified squamous epithelium designed to protect the esophagus as it conducts food downwards.
    • Esophageal Lamina Propria: Fairly thin and contains a few lymphoid aggregates
    • Esophageal Muscularis Mucosa: Is also fairly thin and insignificant
  • Esophageal Submucosa
    • The collagenous esophogeal submucosa is fairly loose and can be significantly distended in order to accommodate passing food boluses. Small glands are also visible in this layer that secrete mucus which lubricates the passage of food.
  • Esophageal Muscularis Propria:
    • The muscularis of the esophagus is the most prominent layer and allows for powerful peristalsis. The upper third of the esophageal muscularis is composed of skeletal muscle cells while the lower third is made of smooth muscle cells.
  • Esophageal Adventitia:
    • Is a relatively thin layer of collagenous tissue which invests the entire esophagus.