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Mesothelium vs. Endothelium: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on January 8, 2024
Mesothelium is a layer of cells lining body cavities like the chest and abdomen, while endothelium lines the interior of blood vessels and the heart.

Key Differences

The mesothelium is a membrane composed of simple squamous epithelial cells, forming a protective layer around internal body cavities, such as the pleura (chest), peritoneum (abdomen), and pericardium (heart). In contrast, the endothelium is a thin layer of cells that lines the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, playing a crucial role in vascular biology.
Functionally, the mesothelium serves to provide a frictionless surface for the movement of organs within these cavities, crucial for processes like breathing and digestion. The endothelium, however, is actively involved in various physiological processes including blood clotting, inflammation, and formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis).
The mesothelium originates from the mesoderm, one of the three primary germ layers in early embryonic development, thus named for its origin. The endothelium also originates from the mesoderm but specifically differentiates to form the lining of the cardiovascular system.
In pathology, diseases related to the mesothelium, like mesothelioma, are often associated with exposure to certain environmental factors, such as asbestos. Diseases of the endothelium, like atherosclerosis, are linked to systemic health issues, including hypertension and diabetes.
Both the mesothelium and the endothelium are vital for the functioning of body systems, their roles, locations, and associated pathologies are distinct, reflecting their unique contributions to human physiology.

Comparison Chart


Lines body cavities like chest, abdomen, heart
Lines interior of blood and lymphatic vessels


Provides frictionless surface for organ movement
Regulates vascular processes like clotting, inflammation


Derived from mesoderm
Also from mesoderm, but forms cardiovascular lining

Associated Diseases

Mesothelioma, related to environmental factors
Atherosclerosis, related to systemic health issues

Role in Physiology

Protective and facilitating organ movement
Active in blood vessel function and health

Mesothelium and Endothelium Definitions


Tissue layer covering the pleura, peritoneum, and pericardium.
The mesothelium in the abdomen reduces friction between organs.


A thin layer of cells lining the interior of blood vessels.
The endothelium plays a key role in blood pressure regulation.


A layer facilitating movement and providing a barrier in body cavities.
Injury to the mesothelium can affect respiratory function.


A barrier between the blood and the rest of the vessel wall.
The endothelium helps prevent blood clotting inside vessels.


A membrane of simple squamous epithelium lining body cavities.
The mesothelium of the pleura allows smooth lung movement.


Involved in angiogenesis and vascular homeostasis.
The endothelium aids in the formation of new blood vessels.


Epithelial cell layer derived from the mesoderm.
The mesothelium is crucial in embryonic development.


Tissue forming the lining of the heart and lymphatic vessels.
Damage to the endothelium can lead to cardiovascular diseases.


Protective layer for internal cavities in the thorax and abdomen.
Mesothelium damage can lead to various abdominal diseases.


A layer involved in various physiological processes like inflammation.
Endothelial dysfunction is linked to atherosclerosis.


The layer of flat cells of mesodermal origin that lines the embryonic body cavity and gives rise to the squamous cells of the peritoneum, pericardium, and pleura.


A thin layer of flat epithelial cells that lines serous cavities, lymph vessels, and blood vessels.


(biology) A membrane of flat epithelial cells that lines the body cavity of embryos and forms the squamous cells of the peritoneum, pericardium, and pleura


(anatomy) A thin layer of flat epithelial cells that lines the heart, serous cavities, lymph vessels, and blood vessels.


Epithelial mesoderm; a layer of cuboidal epithelium cells, formed from a portion of the mesoderm during the differetiation of the germ layers. It constitutes the boundary of the cŒlum.


The thin epithelium lining the blood vessels, lymphatics, and serous cavities. See Epithelium.


Epithelium originating in the embryonic mesoderm; lines the primordial body cavity


An epithelium of mesoblastic origin; a thin layer of flattened cells that lines the inside of some body cavities


What role does the endothelium play in the body?

It's crucial for vascular biology and blood vessel health.

What is the primary function of the mesothelium?

It provides a frictionless surface for organ movement.

Can mesothelium be found in the heart?

Yes, as the pericardial mesothelium.

How does endothelium affect blood clotting?

It helps regulate clot formation and dissolution.

What causes mesothelium-related diseases?

Often, environmental factors like asbestos.

Is mesothelium present in joints?

No, it's specific to certain body cavities.

Is mesothelium susceptible to cancer?

Yes, mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium.

Can endothelium be damaged by lifestyle factors?

Yes, factors like smoking and poor diet can harm it.

What systemic diseases affect the endothelium?

Conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

How does the endothelium contribute to atherosclerosis?

Through dysfunction in vascular processes.

Where is the endothelium located?

It lines the interior of blood and lymphatic vessels.

Does mesothelium aid in digestion?

Indirectly, by allowing smooth organ movement.

How is the endothelium involved in hypertension?

It regulates blood vessel dilation and constriction.

Can mesothelium regeneration occur?

It has limited regenerative capacity.

Are mesothelium and endothelium similar in structure?

Both are thin cell layers, but their functions differ significantly.

Is mesothelium visible during surgery?

Yes, surgeons see it lining the cavities.

What environmental factors harm the mesothelium?

Mainly asbestos and other fibrous materials.

Can endothelium be a target for medication?

Yes, in treatments for cardiovascular diseases.

How does the endothelium affect inflammation?

It plays a role in inflammatory responses in blood vessels.

What is endothelial dysfunction?

A condition where the endothelium does not work properly, affecting vascular health.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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