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

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Key Points

The trachea is lined through pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium cells with goblet cell that produce mucus. There are around 15 come 20 C-shaped cartilaginous rings the reinforce the anterior and also lateral political parties of the trachea to protect and maintain the airway, leaving a membranous wall surface (pars membranacea) dorsally without cartilage where the C-shape is open. The cartilaginous rings space C-shaped to allow the trachea to collapse contempt at the opened so the food deserve to pass under the esophagus. The trachealis muscle connect the end of the open component of the C-shaped rings and contracts throughout coughing, to reduce the dimension of the lumen the the trachea to rise the air flow rate. The stomach lies posteriorly come the trachea. The mucocilliary escalator helps avoid pathogens indigenous entering the lungs. The trachea is part of the conducting zone and also contributes come anatomical dead space.

Key Terms

cilia: Tiny, hair-like projections indigenous a cell. mucocilliary escalator: The ladder by mucus and cilia in the trachea that pushes rubber up the trachea and into the pharynx to avoid mucus pathogens native entering the lungs. anatomical dead space: The space in the respiratory tract tract the isn’t involved in alveolar ventilation and is part of the normal conducting zone the the respiratory tract system.


The trachea: This is the trachea in relationship to the rest of the respiratory system.

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

Anatomy that the Trachea

The trachea is a long tube that extends native the pharynx and larynx come the bronchi that the lungs. It typically has an within diameter of around 25.4 millimeters (1.00 in) and also a size of around 10 come 16 centimeters.

The trachea commences at the lower border that the larynx, level with the sixth cervical vertebra, and bifurcates right into the main bronchi at the vertebral level that thoracic vertebra T5, or increase to two vertebrae reduced or higher, depending on breathing.

At the height of the trachea and bottom the the larynx is the cricoid cartilage, the only complete ring the cartilage in the trachea. Prolonging downward transparent the length of the tube are about fifteen to 20 C-shaped cartilaginous rings the reinforce the external structure and shape of the trachea—the open component of every C-shaped ring expose a membranous wall on the inside of the trachea.

Histology of the Trachea: A cross section of the trachea, mirroring the hyaline cartilage, rubber glands, and ciliated epithelium.

The cartilage the the trachea is taken into consideration hyaline cartilage: simple, transparent, and made mostly of collagen. The trachealis muscle connects the open up ends that the C-shaped rings of cartilage and contracts during coughing, reducing the dimension of the lumen that the trachea to boost the air flow rate.

The stomach lies behind the trachea. The C-shaped cartilaginous rings allow the trachea come collapse slightly at its opening, for this reason food deserve to pass down the esophagus after swallowing.

The epiglottis close the door the opening to the larynx throughout swallowing to prevent swallowed matter from beginning the trachea.

Physiology of the Trachea

This mucus and also cilia of the trachea form the mucociliary escalator, i beg your pardon lines the cells of the trachea v mucus to catch inhaled foreign particles. The cilia then waft upward toward the larynx and also the pharynx, whereby it have the right to be one of two people swallowed right into the stomach (and damaged by acid) or expelled together phlegm.

The mucociliary escalator is among the most necessary functions the the trachea and also is additionally considered a barrier component of the immune system due its role in preventing pathogens from entering the lungs. The epithelium and the mucociliary ladder have the right to be damaged by smoking cigarettes tobacco and also alcohol consumption, which can make pneumonia (an epidemic of the alveoli that the lungs) from bacteria in the upper respiratory tract an ext likely to occur due to the lose of barrier function.

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As a part of the conducting zone that the lungs, the trachea is necessary in warming and also moistening air before it reaches the lungs. The trachea is also considered a component of common anatomical dead an are (space in the airway that isn’t associated in alveolar gas exchange) and also its volume contributes to calculations the ventilation and also physiological (total) dead space. It is not taken into consideration alveolar dead space, a ax that describes alveoli that don’t partake in gas exchange early to damage or absence of blood supply.


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