Microvilli and it’s role in absorption

Microvilli and it’s role in absorption is a very important topic specially for zoology student. Most of the cells have a variety of protrusions or extensions on their surface area which involved in various purpose like phagocytosis, cell movements, and in some specialized functions such as absorption of nutrient materials. Microvilli (singularly microvillus) are one of those protrusions presents on the surface of some special cells. Microvilli has many other role without absorption.


Microvilli are actin-based finger like extensions or projections of plasma membrane or the surface of some specialized epithelial cells and helps to increase their surface area.

Micro-villi under electron microscope.
Micro-villi under electron microscope.


Microvilli are mainly found on the apical surface of some epithelial cells, involved in some special function as absorption. These are mostly found on the columnar epithelial cells forming the lining of the lumen of small intestine and get involved in absorption of nutrients. Those columnar epithelial cells are called-Enterocytes. Microvilli are also present on the egg cell surface.

Microvilli present on the epithelial cells lining the wall of lumen of small-intestine.


Microvilli are present on the cell surface and play many key role to maintain various performance of our cell.

  • The main role of microvilli is to increase the exposed surface area of a cell to increase its workability.  
  • Microvilli also increase the surface area of the enterocytes (columnar epithelial cell) forming the lining of the lumen of small intestine and helps these cells to absorb the nutrients materials from the ingested food and water molecule. So, indirectly it helps to maintain our health by involving in the process of absorption.
  • Microvilli, presents on the surface of the egg cells upholding the sperm and facilitate the fertilization process.
  • Microvilli also contain some enzymes, which break down the complex nutrients into simple form and make them easily absorbable. Glycosidase is an enzyme present in high concentration in the microvilli of enterocytes, and helps to digest carbohydrates.
  • They also increase the movability of some cells.
  • They take place in response of the cell to some environmental stimuli and make the cell adopted with this condition.
Microvilli and it's rule in digestion
Micro-villi on egg cell surface.

Microvilli also plays some other functions, such as cellular adhesion, mechano-transduction etc.                                                                      

Other related posts.

Function of Golgi-body

Function of lysosomes

Function of stomach

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