The serous membrane (or serosa) is a smooth tissue membrane of mesothelium lining the contents and inner walls of body cavities, which secrete serous fluid to allow lubricated sliding movements between opposing surfaces. The serous membrane that covers internal organs is called a visceral membrane; while the one that covers the cavity wall is called the parietal membrane. Between the two opposing serosal surfaces is often a potential space, mostly empty except for the small amount of serous fluid.
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The Latin anatomical name is tunica serosa. Serous membranes line and enclose several body cavities, also known as serous cavities, where they secrete a lubricating fluid which reduces friction from movements. Serosa is entirely different from the adventitia, a connective tissue layer which binds together structures rather than reducing friction between them. The serous membrane covering the heart and lining the mediastinum is referred to as the pericardium, the serous membrane lining the thoracic cavity and surrounding the lungs is referred to as the pleura, and that lining the abdominopelvic cavity and the viscera is referred to as the peritoneum.