Difference between Keratinized and Non-keratinized Epithelial Tissues

Keratinized vs Nonkeratinized Epithelium

Keratinized vs Non-keratinized Epithelium
Difference between Keratinized and Non-keratinized Epithelial Tissues

Epithelium constitutes the outer layer of body surfaces, linings of the alimentary canal and the walls of hollow structures. It covers the internal or external surfaces of the body.

The functions epithelial tissue is to protect the underlying tissues from physical damages, infection, desiccation, UV radiation and heat loss. Based on the presence of Keratin, the epithelial tissues are categorized into Keratinized epithelium and Non-keratinized epithelial tissues.

Keratins are a diverse group of structural proteins that form the intermediate filament network and they provide the structural integrity of keratinized epithelial cells.

The present post discusses the Difference between Keratinized and Non-keratinized Epithelial Cells.

Keratinized Epithelium

(1).  Keratinized epithelium forms the epidermis of the land vertebrates.

(2).  The surface cells (outermost cell layer) of the keratinized epithelia are dead cells.

(3).  The protoplasm in the surface cells of the keratinized epithelium is replaced by keratin.

(4).  Keratinized epithelium is impervious to water.

(5).  Keratinized epithelium can provide better protection against abrasions

Non-keratinized Epithelium

(1).  Non-keratinized epithelium forms the lining of the buccal cavity, pharynx and oesophagus.

(2).  The surface cells of non-keratinized epithelia are living cells.

(3).  Keratin is absent in non-keratinized epithelial cells.

(4).  Non-keratinized epithelium is pervious to water.

(5).  Non-keratinized epithelium only provides moderate protection against abrasions.


Diagram of the layers of the epithelial skin layer: the epidermis. The Keratinized tissue is marked as Stratum corneum (source- wikipedia)

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