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Mucous membranes - Definition


Mucous membranes consist of quite soft organic tissue and line the interior of certain organs as well as various naturally-occurring external cavities of the body, such as the nostrils or ears. They can therefore be found along the entire length of the digestive tract, oesophagus, stomach, large intestine, colon, and rectum. Mucous membranes also line the lungs, elimination organs such as the bladder, and reproductive organs such as the endometrium, the mucous membrane that lines the uterus. These membranes are also located at the extremities of these organs, such as the mouth, anus, and the opening to the vagina. Mucous membranes usually secrete a viscous substance, called mucous, which makes them slightly moist and provides them with a protective barrier against various pathogens, such as viruses or bacteria.