Transitional epithelium of the urinary bladder. Note the rounded surface of the apical cells -- a distinguishing characteristic of this type of epithelium.

Transverse section of ureter.
FMA 67695

Anatomical terminology

Urothelium (or uroepithelium) is an example of "transitional epithelium". It is the type of epithelium that lines much of the urinary tract including the renal pelvis, the ureters, the bladder,[1] and parts of the urethra.[2]

Structure and function

Urothelial tissue is highly specific to the urinary tract, and has high elasticity and trans-epithelial electrical resistance.[2]

Urothelium consists of approximately 3-5 cell layers, accompanied by a thick layer of protective glycoprotein plaques at its luminal (apical) surface, and is classified as transitional epithelium.


Epithelia are sites of specific diseases.

Urothelial lesions



  1. Moro, C; Uchiyama, J; Chess-Williams, R (December 2011). "Urothelial/lamina propria spontaneous activity and the role of M3 muscarinic receptors in mediating rate responses to stretch and carbachol". Urology. 76 (6): 1442.e9–15. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2011.08.039. PMID 22001099.
  2. 1 2 Andersson, 2011: p. 134
  3. "Mutation signatures implicate aristolochic acid in bladder cancer development". Genome Medicine. 7 (1). Dec 2015. doi:10.1186/s13073-015-0161-3.
  4. "Bladder cancer risk factors". Cancer Research UK. Retrieved 27 July 2014.


External links

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