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Definition of Endothelium

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Endothelium: A layer of flat cells lining the closed internal spaces of the body such as the inside of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels (that convey the lymph, a milky fluid) and the heart.

By contrast, the outside layer of cells that covers all the free, open surfaces of the body including the skin, and mucous membranes that communicate with the outside of the body is called the epithelium.

The word "endothelium" is derived from the Greek "endon," within + G. "thele," nipple.

Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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