Arteries are classified according to their size, the appearance of their tunica media, or their major function.

Large elastic conducting arteries include the aorta and its large branches. Unstained, they appear yellow due to their high con tent of elastin.

The tunica intima is composed of endothelium and a thin sub jacent connective tissue layer. An internal elastic membrane marks the boundary between the intima and media.

The tunica media is extremely thick in large arteries and con sists of circularly organized, fenestrated sheets of elastic tissue with interspersed smooth muscle cells. These cells are responsi ble for producing elastin and other extracellular matrix com ponents. The outermost elastin sheet is considered as the external elastic membrane, which marks the boundary between the media and the tunica adventitia.

The tunica adventitia is a longitudinally oriented collection of collagenous bundles and delicate elastic fibers with associated fibroblasts. Large blood vessels have their own blood supply (vasa vasorum), which consists of small vessels that branch profusely in the walls of larger arteries and veins. Muscular distributing arteries are medium—sized vessels that are characterized by their predominance of circularly arranged smooth muscle cells in the media interspersed with a few elastin compo nents. Up to 40 layers of smooth muscle may occur. Both internal and external elastic limiting membranes are clearly demonstrated. The intima is thinner than that of the large arteries.

Arterioles are the smallest components of the arterial tree. Generally, any artery less than 0,5 mm in diameter is considered to be a small artery or arteriole. A suben—dothelial layer and the inter nal elastic membrane may be present in the largest of these vessels but are absent in the smaller ones. The media is composed of sev eral smooth muscle cell layers, and the adventitia is poorly devel oped. An external elastic membrane is absent.

New words

endothelium – эндотелий

media – средняя

arteries – артерии

to be classified – классифицированный

according – соответственно

their – их

size – размер

appearance – вид

tunica – оболочка

major – главный

elastic – эластичный

conducting – проведение

arteries – артерии

to include – включать

aorta – аорта

branches – ветви

up to – до

layers – слои

smooth – гладкий

may – может

infima – внутренняя полость артерии