The physical boundary between the human body and its surroundings is made of epithelium: a particular kind of tissue lining the body and inner surfaces of hollow structures, such as tubes or cavities. Epithelial cells serve many functions, amongst others protection, selective permeability, secretion, absorption, transport along their surface and sensory perception. This range of functions makes epithelial tissues clinically very relevant. The function of an epithelial tissue is a determining factor for its appearance. The relationship between the appearance of epithelium and its function as well as linking this information to clinical practice are principles that can be difficult to understand for first-year medical students. This project consisted of the creation of an online histology resource for the University of Dundee School of Medicine in order to aid students in improving their understanding of epithelium and its key concepts. It provides information that is tailored to the curriculum and can be used in addition to lectures and practicals. The online resource consists of three-dimensional models as well as additional visual representations and text content and can be accessed at www.epithelium3d.com.
Image by Anna Sieben