An Overview of Mesothelium Structure and Function

The mesothelium is the adding of tissues (epithelium) that surrounds the organs of the chest (pleura and pericardium), abdominal cavity (peritoneum and mesentery), and pelvis (including the tunica vaginalis that surrounds the testes). It functions to protect internal structures and aid in doings and liven up. A number of medical problems may have emotional impact these membranes such as pleural and pericardial effusions, adhesions, and a type of cancer known as mesothelioma.


Mesothelial cells begin as the mesoderm during press on (the lungs derive from endoderm) and apparently discharge adherence an important share in the move on of the lung.

The mesothelium is a single, continuous codicil of epithelial cells that is estranged into three primary regions:

  • The pleura are the two membranes which form a lining in excuse to the lungs. This, in position, is divided into the mammal pleura which lies directly well along than the lungs, and the parietal pleura, which is the outer gathering of the lung lining.
  • The pericardium refers the mesothelium that forms a lining as regards the heart and the mediastinum, the place in the chest along amid the lungs.
  • The serous membrane includes the layers of epithelium lining the abdomen.
  • This region that includes the mesentary is furthermore separated into two layers. The creature peritoneum lines the internal organs, and the parietal peritoneum, which lines the abdominal and pelvic walls.
  • The tunic vaginalis is that the layers of epithelium lining the testes in males.

Mesothelium vs. Endothelium

The calculation type of tissue that lines some body surfaces is the endothelium, derived from the ectoderm and endoderm during enhance. As mesothelial cells parentage the regions noted above (serosal membranes), epithelial cells descent blood vessels and lymphatic vessels in the body.


It was when thought that the without help aspire of the mesothelium was to present a slippery, non-sticky surface in order to protect the organs of the chest and abdominal cavity during dynamism and full of beans.

We are now learning that, in the tune of the tonsils and late postscript, the mesothelium has supplementary important functions as ably, and functions as a on the go membrane rather than gainfully mammal a member that allows serene movement. These tallying together:

  • The transport and pursuit of fluids and have emotional impact across the membrane from the outer aspects of the chest and abdominal cavities to the internal organs. In adaptable these events, the mesothelial tissues may doing an important role in homeostasis (include) of the body.
  • Coagulation (blood clotting)
  • Healing
  • Immune feign: The mesothelium appears to have a protective role both down infection as ably as the go ahead of tumors. Pleural mesothelial cells secrete substances which are nimble against bacteria, including those liable for tuberculosis.
  • Protection adjoining tumors: Mesothelial cells appear to secrete substances that inhibit the exaggeration of digestive tract tumors.
  • These substances appear to inhibit the gaining of cancer cells to “secure” to the mesothelium, and as such, fade away the evolve or metastasis of some tumors.

Medical Conditions

There are a number of diseases that can play a share the mesothelioma, or pretend auxiliary organs of the body considering the mesothelioma is damaged. some of these collective:


Mesothelioma could be a style of cancer that begins within the cells of the epithelium.

These cancers may occur anywhere that mesothelium is appear in, such as the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), the lining of the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), or pelvis. This cancer is most common in people who have been exposed to asbestos (see asbestos dangers), and continues to cumulative in incidence worldwide.

Symptoms of mesothelioma may append a cough, profundity swallowing, abdominal passionate and bloating, and accessory symptoms depending upon the location of the tumor. A surgical procedure called pleurodesis (removal of the pleura) is sometimes performed to remove the tumor, even though the prognosis is usually poor by the period this cancer is diagnosed.


Adhesions (bands of scar tissue) are a common complication of abdominal surgery, and, due to obstructions caused by adhesions, are a common footnote why abdominal surgery is needed. Scar tissue involving the mesothelium in the abdominal cavity may make bands of tissue, which in turn of view can waylay the bowel and cause obstruction. (You can portray this as taking a fragment of cement that has been chewed, stretching it a propos in the abdominal cavity, and also having it harden.)

Symptoms of adhesions often add together abdominal be in poor health (that can be immediate), cramping, nausea and vomiting, and bloating. When adhesions are mild (not causing a unqualified obstruction) people may sorrow from chronic intermittent episodes of abdominal twinge, especially after eating large meals. There is research in press on looking at ways to shorten the badly be lackluster ahead of adhesions after surgery.

Mesothelium furthermore surrounds the male and female reproductive organs, and adhesions in these regions are an important cause of infertility.


Fibrosis is a word used to characterize scar tissue that often forms after an episode of inflammation. Researchers are currently investigating the role which the pleural mesothelium may intervention fibrosis, particularly conditions such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Pleural Effusions

Pleural effusions are a build-occurring of unstructured in the cavity amid the two layers of the pleura (the pleural mesothelium), and is influenced by substances secreted by pleural mesothelial cells. There are many realizable causes of pleural effusions. When cancer cells are push in the nebulous between the pleura, it is referred to as a malignant pleural effusion.

Pericardial Effusions

Pericardial effusions are same to pleural effusions, but rather are a manufacture-taking place of nebulous along along along plus the two layers of tissue lining the heart.

There area unit variety of causes, together with some infections, chest surgery, and cancers like carcinoma.

When a pericardial effusion develops slowly, it may cause few symptoms and unaided be detected upon imaging studies. If the effusion is large or develops hurriedly, in contrast, it can outcome in a vivaciousness-threatening condition known as cardiac tamponade, as the fluid in this area can severely restrict the motion of the heart.

A Word From Verywell

The mesothelium is an important structure lining the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, and serves not only to lubricate movements of organs in these regions, but has important functions in fluid transport, blood clotting, and in resistance to infections and the spread of cancers. While the mesothelium can aid in controlling tumors, it is also particularly sensitive to asbestos, which can lead to mesothelioma in people who are exposed.