What are Clara cells?


Quick Answer

Clara cells are dome-shaped cells found in the bronchioles of the lungs that have short microvilli. Clara cells are also known as bronchiolar exocrine cells.

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Full Answer

The main functions of Clara cells include protecting the epithelium that lines the small airways of the lungs, detoxifying harmful inhaled substances and regenerating the bronchiolar epithelium. The term "Clara cells" comes from the name of the scientist, Max Clara, who first described the cells. The term is being replaced by "club cells" because Max Clara was an active member of the Nazi party who conducted his research on tissue samples taken from executed victims of the Holocaust.

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