Sensory epithelia are composed of true epithelial cells around which extensions of nerve cells located in the cerebro-spinal ganglia grow. They are highly specialized epithelia for receiving stimuli and transmitting impulses to the nerve endings with which they are in functional contact (synapses).
Sensory epithelia are the taste buds (in mammals at the level of the taste buds of the tongue), the neuromasts (mechanoreceptors) of the lateral line of fish and amphibians, the ampullary ridges of the semicircular canals of the inner ear.
The neuroepithelia should be considered separately. These are not actually epithelia, because they are not composed of epithelial cells but of neurons that, for the location (peripheral to the central nervous system) and the arrangement (epithelioid), resemble an epithelium; typical examples are the olfactory epithelium (formed by olfactory neurons alternating with supporting cells) and the retina (formed by cones and rods specialized in photoreception and pigmented epithelial cells).
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