noun, plural: myoepithelial cells
(1) (histology) A slender, spindle-shaped contractile cell forming the thin layer in an exocrine gland, particularly between the basement membrane and the luminal epithelial cells, and functions by aiding in the secretion of fluid from the gland and synthesize basement membrane elements such as fibronectin, laminin, collagen IV, and nidogen
(2) (zoology) A cell showing characteristics of both muscle and epithelium cells, as that of hydra and other cnidarians
The myoepithelial cells resemble the smooth muscle cells in ways that they also contain arrays of myofilaments, dense bodies, and smooth muscle-specific proteins. Despite of these similarities with smooth muscle cell, the myoepithelial cell is still considered largely as an epithelial cell since it contains cytokeratins and separated from the connective tissue by a basement membrane.1
Some of the glands containing myoepithelial cells include the sweat glands, mammary glands, lacrimal glands, and salivary glands.
Word origin: myo– (muscle) + epithelial cell
- 1Johnson MC. 2009. Anatomy and physiology of the breast. In: Jatoi I, Kaufmann M, editors. Management of Breast Diseases. London: Springer. p8.