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Mucosa is tissue lining some organs and body cavities such as the nose, mouth, lungs, and digestive tract. Glands in the mucosa produce a thick fluid called mucus. The average human body produces about a liter of mucus per day. In the digestive system, this mucus acts as a lubricant allowing food to smoothly pass along the digestive tract. In the stomach and intestinal tract, mucus also prevents digestive enzymes from eating the internal lining of the organs. Read on to learn more about mucosa, and its role in digestion.

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Mucosa
Mucosa in the Small Intestine

Mucosa tissue lines the organs and body cavities that are exposed to the outside world. In the digestive system, it is the layer of tissue that comes in direct contact with food as it progresses through the digestive tract. This section focuses on the mucosa of the digestive system.

Glands in the mucosa tissue produce a thick fluid called mucus. This mucus acts as a lubricant helping food pass smoothly along the digestive tract. In the stomach, the mucus also prevents digestive enzymes from eating the internal lining of the stomach.

The mucosa layer consists of hair-like, projections called villi. These villi dramatically increase the surface area of the cell. The individual cells also have thousands of microvilli to further increase the surface area. This expanded surface area allows for a larger number of digestive enzymes to be present on the cell surface. It also provides a greater surface area for nutrient absorption. The submucosa, beneath the mucosa layer, contains nerves, blood and lymph vessels. Most nutrients are absorbed into the blood across the mucosa of the small intestine.

 

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