Medical Dictionary


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adjective Mal·pi·ghi·an \mal-ˈpig-ē-ən, -ˈpē-gē-\

Medical Definition of Malpighian

  1. :  of, relating to, or discovered by Marcello malpighi

Biographical Note for malpighian


\mäl-ˈpē-gē\play ,


(1628–1694), Italian anatomist. Malpighi is widely regarded as the founder of histology and one of the great microscopists. One of the first scientists to use the microscope to study tissues, he studied the fine anatomy of the human lung, brain, spinal cord, and secretory glands. In 1661 he made the major discovery of the capillary anastomoses between the arteries and the veins. This important link completed William Harvey's theory of the circulation of the blood. He described the deep layers of the epidermis in 1665. The following year he produced a classic treatise on the structure of the liver, cerebral cortex, kidney, and spleen. Several of the structural units of these organs now bear his name.

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