Microridges are highly distinctive “fingerprint”‐patterned structures situated on the outer surface of superficial layer cells of the epithelium. An F‐actin‐based cytoskeleton is the underlying core structural component of microridges. The basis for much of what is known about microridges has been provided by in vivo and in vitro fish epithelial systems. Nonetheless the microridge literature is quite small, especially when compared with other actin‐based cellular structures such as those involved in cell motility. A PubMed search of the terms “Microridges” yields 261 citations from the mid‐1970s to the writing of this review. “Microplicae,” an alternative name for microridges, and “Actin Microridges” search terms give 204 and 8 references, respectively, in the same time period. By comparison a search of “Lamellipodia” over the same time period yields over 6,400 citations for this important motility structure while a search of the associated “filopodia” results in close to 7,300 articles. Despite the near‐ubiquity of microridges in epithelia across species the study of these structures has clearly been neglected. In‐depth analysis of microridge molecular composition is very limited while their function remains unclear. This review draws upon information derived from studies of fish as well as mammalian species to provide a more comprehensive view of these structures. The wide‐spread distribution of these structures between species and various tissues indicate the microridges have important and common functions in healthy organisms. Conversely, disease conditions may show alterations in microridge structure and function and thus warrant further investigation. Anat Rec, 301:2037–2050, 2018. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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