Diagram of small intestine absorptive epithelial cells, a. All three cellular domains of a typical epithelial cell are indicated on the diagram. The junctional complex provides adhesion between adjoining cells and separates the luminal space from the intercellular space, limiting the movement of fluid between the lumen and the underlying connective tissue. The pathway of fluid movement during absorption (arrows) is from the intestinal lumen into the cell, then across the lateral cell membrane into the Intercellular space, and, finally, across the basement membrane to the connective tissue, b. This photomicrograph of a plastic-embedded, thin section of intestinal epithelium, stained with toluidine blue, shows cells actively engaged in fluid transport. Like the adjacent diagram, the intercellular spaces are prominent, reflecting fluid passing into this space before entering the underlying connective tissue, x 1,250.

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