Parenchyma

Last revised by Dr Jeremy Jones on 28 Sep 2013

In anatomy, parenchyma refers to the functional part of an organ in the body. This is in contrast to the stroma or interstitium, which refers to the structural tissue of organs, such as the connective tissues.

Embryologically, the majority of organ parenchyma develops from the ectoderm or endoderm, rather than mesoderm:

  • ectoderm: brain, skin
  • mesoderm: spleen, kidneys, heart
  • endoderm: lungs, gastrointestinal tract, liver, pancreas

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