The trachea, or windpipe, is a tube the connects the pharynx or larynx come the lungs, allowing the i of air.

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Key Points

The trachea is lined with pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium cells with goblet cells that create mucus. There are around 15 come 20 C-shaped cartilaginous rings the reinforce the anterior and also lateral political parties of the trachea come protect and also maintain the airway, leave a membranous wall surface (pars membranacea) dorsally there is no cartilage whereby the C-shape is open. The cartilaginous rings room C-shaped to permit the trachea to collapse contempt at the opening so that food have the right to pass down the esophagus. The trachealis muscle connects the ends of the open part of the C-shaped rings and contracts throughout coughing, reducing the dimension of the lumen of the trachea to boost the air flow rate. The esophagus lies posteriorly come the trachea. The mucocilliary escalator helps prevent pathogens native entering the lungs. The trachea is part of the conducting zone and contributes to anatomical dead space.

Key Terms

cilia: Tiny, hair-like projections from a cell. mucocilliary escalator: The ladder developed by mucus and also cilia in the trachea the pushes mucus up the trachea and also into the pharynx to protect against mucus pathogens from entering the lungs. anatomical dead space: The an are in the respiratory tract that isn’t affiliated in alveolar ventilation and also is component of the common conducting zone the the respiratory system.


The trachea: This is the trachea in relation to the remainder of the respiratory system.

The trachea, or windpipe, is a tube that connects the pharynx or larynx come the lungs, permitting the i of air. The is lined with pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium cells with goblet cell that develop mucus. The trachea is component of the conducting zone because that air into and out the the lungs.

Anatomy of the Trachea

The trachea is a long tube that extends native the pharynx and also larynx come the bronchi of the lungs. It frequently has an inner diameter of about 25.4 millimeter (1.00 in) and a length of around 10 to 16 centimeters.

The trachea commences at the lower border that the larynx, level v the sixth cervical vertebra, and also bifurcates into the major bronchi at the vertebral level that thoracic vertebra T5, or increase to two vertebrae reduced or higher, relying on breathing.

At the peak of the trachea and bottom that the larynx is the cricoid cartilage, the only finish ring the cartilage in the trachea. Extending downward throughout the length of the pipe are around fifteen to 20 C-shaped cartilaginous rings that reinforce the external structure and shape of the trachea—the open part of every C-shaped ring reveals a membranous wall on the inside of the trachea.

Histology that the Trachea: A cross ar of the trachea, reflecting the hyaline cartilage, mucus glands, and ciliated epithelium.

The cartilage that the trachea is thought about hyaline cartilage: simple, transparent, and also made mainly of collagen. The trachealis muscle connects the open up ends that the C-shaped rings of cartilage and contracts throughout coughing, to reduce the dimension of the lumen the the trachea to increase the air flow rate.

The stomach lies behind the trachea. The C-shaped cartilaginous rings permit the trachea come collapse contempt at that opening, for this reason food have the right to pass down the stomach after swallowing.

The epiglottis closes the opened to the larynx throughout swallowing to stop swallowed issue from beginning the trachea.

Physiology of the Trachea

This mucus and cilia that the trachea kind the mucociliary escalator, i beg your pardon lines the cells of the trachea through mucus to trap inhaled foreign particles. The cilia then waft upward toward the larynx and also the pharynx, whereby it deserve to be either swallowed into the stomach (and destroyed by acid) or expelled as phlegm.

The mucociliary escalator is one of the most important functions of the trachea and also is likewise considered a obstacle component the the immune mechanism due its role in staying clear of pathogens native entering the lungs. The epithelium and the mucociliary ladder can be damaged by smoking cigarettes tobacco and alcohol consumption, which have the right to make pneumonia (an infection of the alveoli that the lungs) indigenous bacteria in the upper respiratory tract more likely to occur because of the loss of barrier function.

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As a part of the conducting zone the the lungs, the trachea is vital in warming and moistening air before it reaches the lungs. The trachea is additionally considered a component of typical anatomical dead room (space in the airway that isn’t affiliated in alveolar gas exchange) and its volume contributes come calculations that ventilation and also physiological (total) dead space. That is not considered alveolar dead space, a term that refers to alveoli that don’t partake in gas exchange due to damages or lack of blood supply.


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