List of abbreviations
of micros-
specialist terms
explained in
English +

Every attempt was made to provide correct information and labelling, however any liability for eventual errors or incompleteness is rejected!

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Dr. med.
H. Jastrow

of use
Overview intercellular space (Spatium intercellulare):
Pages with explanations are linked to the text below the images if available! (Labelling is in German)
widened intercellular
space stratum
spinosum, human skin
human stratum spinosum 
with widened
intercellular spaces
elstic membran in intercellular
space between endothelium
and smooth muscle cell (rat)
intercellular space filled with
ground substance + collagen
fibres ovary ligament (rat)
many fibres in connective
tissue intercellular space
lamina propria stomach (rat)
thin intercellular space bet-
ween endocine cells of
the adenohypophysis (rat)
a tight junction disrups the
intercellular space for
short distances, liver (rat)
epididymal duct:
RER, Golgi-apparatuses
small intercellular space (rat)
intercellular spaces in
smooth muscle and
nerve tissue (rat)
intercellular space serves for
neural transmission in
a synapse en passant (rat)
intercellular space serves for
neural transmission in a
synapse, cerebral cortex (rat)
curved intercellular space in
interdigitations between
pancreatic duct cells (rat)
 stable intercellular space in an
intercalated disk between
heart muscle cells (rat)
intercellular space serves
as filtration barrier in a
renal glomerulum (rat)

The intercellular space (Terminologia histologica: Spatium intercellulare) is the space between cells. It is bordered by the outer membranes of cellsIn epithelia it is called intercellular cleft and usually is 25 to 35 nm in width and filled with a fluid rich in water and thus not electron-dense. At places where cell-to-cell contacts are present between epithelial cells it may be filled with intercellular substances (Macula and Zonula adhaerens). In tight junctions (Zonulae occludentes) it is partly bridged by interconnecting proteins leaving only small pores in between. The size of these pores which are important for paracellular transport varies and is responsible for passing of water and small ions which is relevant in the gut: pore width is about 0.8 nm in duodenum and jejunum where about 60% of the water is withdrawn from the chymus, in the ileum pore width is 0.4 nm resulting in a further resorption of 20% and in the colon pore size is only 0.23 nm for a final withdrawal of 20 % of water.
In electrical synapses (Nexus) the intercellular space is bridged by tunnel proteins and thus very tiny due to close apposition of the connected cells.
In contrast to that extracellular space is very wide in connective tissue. Here it is filled with intercellular substance consisting of fibres (collagenous, elastic or reticular) as well as with fundamental substance. Free connective tissue cells migrate through it. In nerve tissue and in musculature only some collagenous or elastic fibres and fundamental substance are seen in the intercellular space. In the central nervous system it is very small like in epithelia. At synapses and myoneural end plates neurotransmitters have to pass the intercellular space.

--> epithelia, connective tissue, nerve tissue, muscle tissue, ground substance
--> Electron microscopic atlas Overview
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Images, page & copyright H. Jastrow.