The main difference between cuboidal and columnar cells is that the height and width of the cuboidal cells are approximately the same, but columnar cells are taller in size than their width. Therefore, cuboidal cells have a cube-shape, while columnar cells have a column-shape. Furthermore, cuboidal cells make up kidney tubules and ducts of small glands, while columnar cells often associate with secretion and absorption.
In brief, cuboidal and columnar cells are two types of epithelial cells with different organizations such as simple epithelium and stratified epithelium. The epithelium is one of the four types of animal tissues, lining the outer surfaces of organs and blood vessels as well as the inner surfaces of cavities in internal organs.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Cuboidal Cells
– Definition, Anatomy, Function
2. What are Columnar Cells
– Definition, Anatomy, Function
3. What are the Similarities Between Cuboidal and Columnar Cells
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Cuboidal and Columnar Cells
– Comparison of Key Differences
Cuboidal Cells, Colmnar Cells, Epithelial Cells, Pseudostratified Epithelium, Simple Epithelium, Stratified Epithelium
What are Cuboidal Cells
Cuboidal cells are a type of epithelial cells, forming the two types of epithelia; that is, the simple cuboidal epithelium and stratified cuboidal epithelium. Significantly, the shape of the cuboidal cells is cube-like with approximately the same height and weight.
Simple Cuboidal Epithelium
The simple cuboidal epithelium consists of a single layer of cuboidal cells on the basement membrane. Usually, it occurs in the small collecting ducts of the kidneys, pancreas, and salivary glands. Also, its functions are secretion and absorption.
Stratified Cuboidal Epithelium
The stratified cuboidal epithelium consists of more than one layer of cuboidal cells on the basement membrane. Also, this epithelium occurs in sweat glands, salivary glands, and in the mammary glands. Furthermore, it serves as a protective tissue.
What are Columnar Cells
Columnar cells are another type of epithelial cells, forming three types of epithelial tissue; simple columnar, pseudostratified columnar, and stratified columnar epithelia. In comparison to cuboidal cells, the shape of columnar cells is column-like, and hence, they are taller than their width.
Simple Columnar Epithelium
The simple columnar epithelium consists of a single layer of columnar epithelial cells. And, these cells are closely packed and alined in a row. Furthermore, this epithelium occurs in the areas with highly secretory functions such as the wall of the stomach and in the absorptive areas such as the lumen of the intestine. Of these, the lumen of the small intestine has folds called villi as well as cellular extensions such as microvilli and cilia, increasing the efficiency of absorption.
Moreover, the female reproductive tract also lines by the ciliated simple columnar epithelium. Besides, simple columnar epithelium contains goblet cells that secrete mucus.
Pseudostratified Columnar Epithelium
The pseudostratified columnar epithelium is a type of simple columnar epithelium whose cells have nuclei at different levels. Therefore, this epithelium also contains cilia on top of the cells as well. For example, this epithelium occurs in the airways such as nose and bronchi, in the uterus, and Fallopian tubes of females, where the cilia propel the ovum to the uterus.
Stratified Columnar Epithelium
The stratified columnar epithelium contains multiple layers of columnar epithelial cells. Especially, it occurs in the male urethra and the ducts of some glands. And, its functions are secretion and protection.
Similarities Between Cuboidal and Columnar Cells
- Cuboidal and columnar cells are two types of epithelial cells.
- They can show both simple and stratified epithelial organization.
- Their cells occur on a basement membrane.
- Also, the main function of both is to line inner cavities and the outer surfaces of organs.
Difference Between Cuboidal and Columnar Cells
Cuboidal cells refer to the epithelial cells, consisting of one or more layers of cells of cuboidal or polyhedral shape. In contrast, columnar cells refer to the epithelial cells that are usually tall, narrow, and somewhat cylindrical.
The height and the width of the cuboidal cells are approximately the same, but columnar cells are taller than their width.
The two types of cuboidal cells are the simple cuboidal and stratified epithelium, while the three types of columnar cells are the simple columnar, pseudostratified columnar, and stratified columnar epithelium.
Cilia do not occur in the cuboidal cells, but cilia occur in both simple and pseudostratified columnar epithelium.
Simple Epithelium – Occurrence
Normally, simple cuboidal epithelium occurs in ducts and secretory portions of small glands and in kidney tubules, while simple columnar epithelium occurs in the ciliated tissues in bronchi, urine tubules, and uterus and nonciliated tissues in the digestive tract and bladder.
Simple Epithelium – Function
Secretion and absorption are the functions of the simple cuboidal epithelium. Specifically, absorption and the secretion of mucous and enzymes are the functions of simple columnar epithelium.
Stratified Epithelium – Occurrence
Usually, stratified cuboidal epithelium occurs in sweat glands, salivary glands, and the mammary glands, while stratified columnar epithelium occurs in the male urethra and the ducts of some glands.
Stratified Epithelium – Function
Stratified cuboidal epithelium serves as a protective tissue, whereas secretion and protection are the functions of stratified columnar epithelium.
Cuboidal cells are the epithelial cells with a cuboid shape with approximately the same height and width. Furthermore, the two types of cuboidal cells are simple and stratified cuboidal epithelium. And, these cells mainly form small glands and tubules. In contrast, columnar cells are another type of epithelial cells that are taller than their width. Also, the three types of columnar cells are the simple columnar, pseudostratified columnar, and the stratified columnar epithelia. Of these, both simple and pseudostratified columnar epithelia contain cilia. In addition to that, the main functions of columnar cells are secretion and absorption. Hence, the main difference between cuboidal and columnar cells is their anatomy and function.
1. “Epithelial Tissue|Boundless Anatomy and Physiology.” Lumen, Available Here.