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Section of a Rat Ear with Stratified Squamous Epithelium on the Skin (30x)

Description

Stratified epithelia have cells arranged in layers (or strata). This is stratified squamous epithelium since the cell type on the top layer is squamous (orange arrow). In this image are four discernible layers, but this type of epithelium can have up to five. Three layers here are stratum corneum (blue arrow), stratum spinosum (yellow arrow), and stratum basale (red arrow). Depending on the presence of cornification, it is classified into two types: cornified (keratinized) or non-cornified (non-keratinized). Keratinized stratified squamous epithelium resides in areas with high likelihood of abrasion to offer extra protection for the underlying layers (such as the surface of the skin). The esophagus which is less prone to abrasion is lined by non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium.

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