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What exactly are epithelial cells and why are they important?

Epithelial cells are what the epithelial tissue is made of, and this tissue lines the inner cavities and organs of the body. One of their most important functions is to protect the surfaces that they line, but there are other functions and some of them are absorption and secretion as well. There are several types of epithelial cells, and there are several criteria that are used for their classification. Those are shape, the number of the layers that they form and specialization. The presence of epithelial cells in urine is checked during the microscopic urinalysis, when the urine sediment has to be analyzed.

Is it dangerous when epithelial cells appear in urine and what does it indicate?

Epithelial tissue also lines the urinary tract, which is why it is normal for epithelial cells to be found in the urine, when microscopic urinalysis is done. As it has already been said, there are several types of these cells, but when it comes to the urine and urinary tract, three types can be found there, and they are squamous, transitional, and renal tubular cells. Squamous epithelial cells are located on the skin, in the vagina and urethra; transitional epithelial cells can be found in the bladder and ureter; and renal tubular cells are located in the kidney. Of these three types, when the results show the presence of squamous and transitional cells in urine, it is regarded as normal, even if their amount is a bit increased, which means that people should not worry in such cases. If none of the three types of epithelial cells is present, it is also normal. As for the renal cells, they should not be present in urine at all, and when their number is significantly increased, it is usually a sign of a serious disorder of the kidneys, which requires further analysis.

The reasons why epithelial cells occur in urine are most commonly infections and inflammations, although it is not excluded that malignancies cause the increased level of epithelial cells. The real cause will be determined with the help of further analysis, and after that, the doctor will suggest a proper treatment. It is also important to mention that sometimes urine specimen may be contaminated, which may also affect the results, and in such cases the levels of squamous epithelial cells will be increased.

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