Stratified Cuboidal Epithelium: Structure, Functions, and Examples

Stratified Cuboidal Epithelium Definition

The apical layer of the stratified cuboidal epithelium is made up of cuboidal cells, but the lower layer can either be cuboidal or columnar. The cells in the deeper layers may differ from those in the top layer, much like in stratified squamous epithelium.

The location and purpose of the epithelial tissue determine how the cells on the apical surface are modified. This epithelium is rather uncommon and only appears in a few places on the body.

Stratified Cuboidal Epithelium Structure

  • The cells in the outermost layer of the stratified cuboidal epithelium, which is made up of multiple layers, are cube-shaped.
  • Both cuboidal and columnar structures can be seen in the lower, deeper levels.
  • To guarantee there is no space between any two cells, the cells are closely packed.
  • While the other layers of the epithelium are related to one another to preserve structural integrity, the basal layer is joined to the foundation membrane.
Stratified Cuboidal Epithelium Diagram
Image credit: https://mmegias.webs.uvigo.es/
  • Except for the apical surface of the outer layer, which is exposed to the organ lumen, all the cells are connected to one another via tight junctions, such as desmosomes or gap junctions.
  • New cell layers are created on top when the basal layer’s cells divide.
  • The epithelium in that area may operate better if these cells can adapt.
  • Dead cells that have lost cell connections are sloughed off at the apical layer, while fresh basal cells continually replace them.
  • The epithelium lacks a direct supply since it is avascular. Diffusion is how the epithelium gets the nutrients, water, and oxygen it needs.
  • The epithelium does have its own supply of nerves, though.

Stratified Cuboidal Epithelium Functions

The activities of the epithelium are also dependent on the organs because it only covers a small number of organs throughout the body.

1. Protection

  • Protection is stratified epithelium’s primary purpose.
  • The many layers of the epithelium shield the internal organs and underlying tissues from microbial and physical harm.
  • Desmosomes and gap junctions on the cells form an impenetrable barrier that keeps outside particles out.
  • This epithelium also serves as a gatekeeper, enabling nutrients and water to enter the cells while screening out undesirable particles.
  • The body’s cells serve as its first line of defense since they are constantly being replaced and repaired.

2. Absorption and Secretion

  • Limited secretion and absorption are additional functions of the stratified cuboidal epithelium.
  • A small amount of fluid is secreted into the duct by the epithelium surrounding certain glands’ ducts, among other things.
  • Similarly, the stratified cuboidal epithelium in the urethra takes specific ions and water from the urine and absorbs it.

You may also like to read: Arteries Vs Veins

Stratified Cuboidal Epithelium Location and Examples

  • In the endocrine system, the stratified cuboidal epithelium may be seen lining the ducts of the mammary glands, sweat glands, and salivary glands.
  • The male urethra and other urinary system organs contain it in a similar manner.


  • https://www.toppr.com/guides/biology/tissues/epithelial-tissue/
  • https://www.thoughtco.com/integumentary-system-373580
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