What is the difference between epithelium and epidermis?

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Sarah C Share
Jul 7, 2017

Answer:

The Epidermis is a type of epithelium tissue.

Explanation:

Epithelium a type of tissue (the others being Muscle, Connective and Nervous) that lines internal and external surfaces. They are typically thin sheets of cells that have a range of functions such as: separating parts of the body, lining organs (like the lungs) and generally protecting your body (e.g. The skin - including the epidermis - protects the inside of your body from external dangers).

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The Epidermis is the outermost, protective layer of skin, consisting of 4 other layers in thin skin (e.g. on eyelids) and 5 on thick skin (e.g. soles of feet). It is a type of epithelial tissue and is responsible for primarily protection but also plays a part in temperature regulation through perspiration (sweating).

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"Epidermis" can also have connotations of plant tissue. In this context, epidermis refers to the outer layer of cells covering the exterior areas of a plant (stem, leaves, flowers and roots). This helps to protect against water loss, it provides a physical barrier against pathogens and pests and it aids gas transfer and water/mineral ion absorption in roots. The epidermis in a plant is often transparent as well so that light can travel through to the lower layers of plant tissue for photosynthesis.
(Thank you Indrani R for your help with this!)

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