Epithelium is one of the four basic types of animal tissue, along with connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue. Epithelial tissues line the cavities and surfaces of structures throughout the body, and also form many glands. Functions of epithelial cells include secretion, selective absorption, protection, transcellular transport and detection of sensation. In Greek "Epi" means, "on, upon," and "Theli" meaning "tissue." Epithelial layers are avascular, so they must receive nourishment via diffusion of substances from the underlying connective tissue, through the basement membrane.[unreliable source?] Epithelia can also be organized into clusters of cells that function as exocrine and endocrine glands. Exocrine and endocrine epithelial cells are highly vascular.
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