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The major organs of the respiratory system function primarily to provide oxygen to body tissues for cellular respiration, remove the waste product carbon dioxide, and help to maintain acid-base balance. Functionally, the respiratory system can be divided into a conducting zone and a respiratory zone.
The major functions of the conducting zone are to provide a route for incoming and outgoing air, remove debris and pathogens from the incoming air, and warm and humidify the incoming air. The external nose consists of the surface and skeletal structures that result in the outward appearance of the nose and contribute to its numerous functions ([link]). Underneath the thin skin of the nose are its skeletal features (see [link], lower illustration). The nares open into the nasal cavity, which is separated into left and right sections by the nasal septum ([link]). Several bones that help form the walls of the nasal cavity have air-containing spaces called the paranasal sinuses, which serve to warm and humidify incoming air. The nares and anterior portion of the nasal cavities are lined with mucous membranes, containing sebaceous glands and hair follicles that serve to prevent the passage of large debris, such as dirt, through the nasal cavity. The conchae, meatuses, and paranasal sinuses are lined by respiratory epithelium composed of pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium ([link]). The pharynx is a tube formed by skeletal muscle and lined by mucous membrane that is continuous with that of the nasal cavities (see [link]). The nasopharynx is flanked by the conchae of the nasal cavity, and it serves only as an airway. The larynx is a cartilaginous structure inferior to the laryngopharynx that connects the pharynx to the trachea and helps regulate the volume of air that enters and leaves the lungs ([link]). The epiglottis, attached to the thyroid cartilage, is a very flexible piece of elastic cartilage that covers the opening of the trachea (see [link]). Continuous with the laryngopharynx, the superior portion of the larynx is lined with stratified squamous epithelium, transitioning into pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium that contains goblet cells. In contrast to the conducting zone, the respiratory zone includes structures that are directly involved in gas exchange.
An alveolar duct is a tube composed of smooth muscle and connective tissue, which opens into a cluster of alveoli.
An alveolar sac is a cluster of many individual alveoli that are responsible for gas exchange. The alveolar wall consists of three major cell types: type I alveolar cells, type II alveolar cells, and alveolar macrophages. The simple squamous epithelium formed by type I alveolar cells is attached to a thin, elastic basement membrane. Respiratory System: Asthma Asthma is common condition that affects the lungs in both adults and children. Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation and edema of the airway, and bronchospasms (that is, constriction of the bronchioles), which can inhibit air from entering the lungs. Bronchospasms occur periodically and lead to an “asthma attack.” An attack may be triggered by environmental factors such as dust, pollen, pet hair, or dander, changes in the weather, mold, tobacco smoke, and respiratory infections, or by exercise and stress. Symptoms of an asthma attack involve coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and tightness of the chest. The respiratory system is responsible for obtaining oxygen and getting rid of carbon dioxide, and aiding in speech production and in sensing odors.
The lining of the conducting zone is composed mostly of pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium with goblet cells.
The epiglottis is a region of the larynx that is important during the swallowing of food or drink.
The conducting zone of the respiratory system includes the organs and structures that are not directly involved in gas exchange, but perform other duties such as providing a passageway for air, trapping and removing debris and pathogens, and warming and humidifying incoming air.
Bizzintino J, Lee WM, Laing IA, Vang F, Pappas T, Zhang G, Martin AC, Khoo SK, Cox DW, Geelhoed GC, et al. The respiratory system supplies the body with oxygen and disposes of carbon dioxide.  There are four processes involved with respiration.
Internal respiration is the gas exchange that occurs at the capillaries and intercellular tissues.
So this structure is our bronchial tree, and it branches, branches, branches, smaller, smaller, smaller that fill up the lung.  Bronchi branch to become bronchioles. The composition of the tissue is going to change as we go from big tubes to smaller and smaller branches. When you’re gearing up for fight or flight (sympathetic shit) what are you going to need in terms of oxygen? Under the parasympathetic stimulation, the ACh is released which constricts the airways in case you don’t need so much air (rest and digest).
As we move into this microscopic level, if we had kept columnar cells, it would take too long for oxygen to diffuse. Hello, my name is Antranik and I have a passion for all things relating to the body and mind. You will find a wide range of topics ranging from anatomy and physiology to yoga to gymnastics strength training and more (you just have to explore).
I also have a YouTube channel which ties in together with this blog to serve as another outlet for creativity. Rings Oriented Intermediate Bodyweight Training RoutineMy rings program provides the detailed progressions for building strength, learning dozens of fun skills, and provides a good mix of mobility and prehab accessory exercises that keep you feeling great! The ArmAid is a gnarly self-massage tool for your forearms and here is my video review of it! The ethmoid is perforated with tiny foramina through which branches of the olfactory nerves pass.
Air is inhaled through the nostrils (or, nares) and is filtered by the coarse hairs that line the inside of the nostrils, as well as the mucous membrane that lines the nasal cavities, then warmed and moistened. The pharynx is a musculomembranous tube that functions as both part of the alimentary canal and an airway of the respiratory system. The laryngopharynx is the posteriormost portion of the pharynx, reaching from the hyoid to the cricoid cartilage. The epiglottis is a leaf-shaped cartilagous structure that is part of the laryngeal skeleton. If you've ever swallowed the wrong way, you've experienced that quick panic and awful seizing in your chest. Portions of the respiratory system are also used for non-vital functions, such as sensing odors, speech production, and for straining, such as during childbirth or coughing ([link]).
The conducting zone of the respiratory system includes the organs and structures not directly involved in gas exchange. When discussing the nose, it is helpful to divide it into two major sections: the external nose, and the nasal cavity or internal nose. While the root and bridge of the nose consist of bone, the protruding portion of the nose is composed of cartilage.


The nasal septum is formed anteriorly by a portion of the septal cartilage (the flexible portion you can touch with your fingers) and posteriorly by the perpendicular plate of the ethmoid bone (a cranial bone located just posterior to the nasal bones) and the thin vomer bones (whose name refers to its plough shape).
The epithelium contains goblet cells, one of the specialized, columnar epithelial cells that produce mucus to trap debris.
The pharynx is divided into three major regions: the nasopharynx, the oropharynx, and the laryngopharynx ([link]). The oropharynx is bordered superiorly by the nasopharynx and anteriorly by the oral cavity. It continues the route for ingested material and air until its inferior end, where the digestive and respiratory systems diverge. Similar to the nasal cavity and nasopharynx, this specialized epithelium produces mucus to trap debris and pathogens as they enter the trachea.
The trachea is formed by 16 to 20 stacked, C-shaped pieces of hyaline cartilage that are connected by dense connective tissue. These bronchi are also lined by pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium containing mucus-producing goblet cells ([link]b). Bronchioles, which are about 1 mm in diameter, further branch until they become the tiny terminal bronchioles, which lead to the structures of gas exchange. The respiratory zone begins where the terminal bronchioles join a respiratory bronchiole, the smallest type of bronchiole ([link]), which then leads to an alveolar duct, opening into a cluster of alveoli. An alveolus is one of the many small, grape-like sacs that are attached to the alveolar ducts.
An alveolus is approximately 200 ?m in diameter with elastic walls that allow the alveolus to stretch during air intake, which greatly increases the surface area available for gas exchange. A type I alveolar cell is a squamous epithelial cell of the alveoli, which constitute up to 97 percent of the alveolar surface area.
In addition, excessive mucus secretion can occur, which further contributes to airway occlusion ([link]). Symptoms of a severe asthma attack that requires immediate medical attention would include difficulty breathing that results in blue (cyanotic) lips or face, confusion, drowsiness, a rapid pulse, sweating, and severe anxiety. However, recent research has demonstrated that certain viruses, such as human rhinovirus C (HRVC), and the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae that are contracted in infancy or early childhood, may contribute to the development of many cases of asthma. From a functional perspective, the respiratory system can be divided into two major areas: the conducting zone and the respiratory zone. The mucus traps pathogens and debris, whereas beating cilia move the mucus superiorly toward the throat, where it is swallowed. The first region is the nasopharynx, which is connected to the posterior nasal cavity and functions as an airway.
As a person swallows, the pharynx moves upward and the epiglottis closes over the trachea, preventing food or drink from entering the trachea. Such structures include the nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and most of the bronchial tree. Remember the cilia in the nasal cavity pushes down toward the pharnyx while the cilia in the larynx pushes UP to get stuff into the pharynx to then go in the stomach.
You know how hard it is to blow up a balloon, so we wouldn’t want to have to deal with these sacs collapsing.
Sanjay, but as I read on Tortora, there’s no cartilago anymore on the bronchiolus, so I think the diagram was correct. It is perpetually open, unlike its oral and laryngeal counterparts, functioning as an airway in the respiratory system and as part of the alimentary canal. The upper respiratory and upper digestive tracts diverge after the laryngopharynx; the rear of the laryngopharynx merges with the esophagus to continue the digestive tract.
On the one hand, I think its function in the respiratory system is fascinating; on the other, I loathe it for all the extra work it made me do in my college linguistics course. It's usually directed upward toward the pharynx, like an open door through which air passes through to the trachea. The epithelium of the nasal passages, for example, is essential to sensing odors, and the bronchial epithelium that lines the lungs can metabolize some airborne carcinogens.
Each lateral wall of the nasal cavity has three bony projections, called the superior, middle, and inferior nasal conchae.
Each paranasal sinus is named for its associated bone: frontal sinus, maxillary sinus, sphenoidal sinus, and ethmoidal sinus. The cilia of the respiratory epithelium help remove the mucus and debris from the nasal cavity with a constant beating motion, sweeping materials towards the throat to be swallowed.
A pharyngeal tonsil, also called an adenoid, is an aggregate of lymphoid reticular tissue similar to a lymph node that lies at the superior portion of the nasopharynx. The stratified squamous epithelium of the oropharynx is continuous with the laryngopharynx.
Three large cartilage pieces—the thyroid cartilage (anterior), epiglottis (superior), and cricoid cartilage (inferior)—form the major structure of the larynx. The glottis is composed of the vestibular folds, the true vocal cords, and the space between these folds ([link]).
The cilia beat the mucus upward towards the laryngopharynx, where it can be swallowed down the esophagus. The trachealis muscle and elastic connective tissue together form the fibroelastic membrane, a flexible membrane that closes the posterior surface of the trachea, connecting the C-shaped cartilages. The carina is a raised structure that contains specialized nervous tissue that induces violent coughing if a foreign body, such as food, is present.
Alveoli are connected to their neighbors by alveolar pores, which help maintain equal air pressure throughout the alveoli and lung ([link]). Taken together, the alveoli and capillary membranes form a respiratory membrane that is approximately 0.5 mm thick. Cells of the immune system, such as eosinophils and mononuclear cells, may also be involved in infiltrating the walls of the bronchi and bronchioles. The severity of the condition, frequency of attacks, and identified triggers influence the type of medication that an individual may require. The conducting zone consists of all of the structures that provide passageways for air to travel into and out of the lungs: the nasal cavity, pharynx, trachea, bronchi, and most bronchioles. As the bronchioles become smaller and smaller, and nearer the alveoli, the epithelium thins and is simple squamous epithelium in the alveoli. The second region is the oropharynx, which is continuous with the nasopharynx and is connected to the oral cavity at the fauces.
The respiratory zone includes all the organs and structures that are directly involved in gas exchange, including the respiratory bronchioles, alveolar ducts, and alveoli. So the airways widen.  The adrenal medulla releases epinephrine and norepinephrine which are smooth muscle relaxants.
The structures of your upper respiratory system are always working overtimea€”filtering air, expelling pollutants, and relying on other anatomy to remain healthy and intact. There is a mucous membrane that lines the cavity; the mucus helps trap unwanted particles in inhaled air.


In each of its lateral walls is a palatine tonsil; this region also includes the sublingual tonsil under the tongue. If I hear the words a€?glottal stopa€? ever again, I will not be responsible for my actions. During swallowing, muscles pull it down to close the entry to the larynxa€”closing the door, so to speaka€”to prevent food, liquid, and saliva from entering the trachea. The inferior conchae are separate bones, whereas the superior and middle conchae are portions of the ethmoid bone.
Interestingly, cold air slows the movement of the cilia, resulting in accumulation of mucus that may in turn lead to a runny nose during cold weather. The function of the pharyngeal tonsil is not well understood, but it contains a rich supply of lymphocytes and is covered with ciliated epithelium that traps and destroys invading pathogens that enter during inhalation. As the nasopharynx becomes the oropharynx, the epithelium changes from pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium to stratified squamous epithelium. Anteriorly, the laryngopharynx opens into the larynx, whereas posteriorly, it enters the esophagus. A vestibular fold, or false vocal cord, is one of a pair of folded sections of mucous membrane. The fibroelastic membrane allows the trachea to stretch and expand slightly during inhalation and exhalation, whereas the rings of cartilage provide structural support and prevent the trachea from collapsing.
Rings of cartilage, similar to those of the trachea, support the structure of the bronchi and prevent their collapse. A type II alveolar cell is interspersed among the type I cells and secretes pulmonary surfactant, a substance composed of phospholipids and proteins that reduces the surface tension of the alveoli. The respiratory membrane allows gases to cross by simple diffusion, allowing oxygen to be picked up by the blood for transport and CO2 to be released into the air of the alveoli.
The nasal passages contain the conchae and meatuses that expand the surface area of the cavity, which helps to warm and humidify incoming air, while removing debris and pathogens. The endothelium of the surrounding capillaries, together with the alveolar epithelium, forms the respiratory membrane. As a result, the person may have problems with food or drink entering the trachea, and possibly, the lungs.
The nasal bone articulates superiorly with the frontal bone and laterally with the maxillary bones. Conchae serve to increase the surface area of the nasal cavity and to disrupt the flow of air as it enters the nose, causing air to bounce along the epithelium, where it is cleaned and warmed. The pharyngeal tonsils are large in children, but interestingly, tend to regress with age and may even disappear. The thyroid cartilage consists of the laryngeal prominence, or “Adam’s apple,” which tends to be more prominent in males. A true vocal cord is one of the white, membranous folds attached by muscle to the thyroid and arytenoid cartilages of the larynx on their outer edges. In addition, the trachealis muscle can be contracted to force air through the trachea during exhalation. The primary bronchi enter the lungs at the hilum, a concave region where blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and nerves also enter the lungs. This muscular wall can change the size of the tubing to increase or decrease airflow through the tube. Roaming around the alveolar wall is the alveolar macrophage, a phagocytic cell of the immune system that removes debris and pathogens that have reached the alveoli. Short-term, fast-acting drugs that are used to treat an asthma attack are typically administered via an inhaler.
Septal cartilage is flexible hyaline cartilage connected to the nasal bone, forming the dorsum nasi.
The conchae and meatuses also conserve water and prevent dehydration of the nasal epithelium by trapping water during exhalation. The uvula is a small bulbous, teardrop-shaped structure located at the apex of the soft palate. A palatine tonsil is one of a pair of structures located laterally in the oropharynx in the area of the fauces. The thick cricoid cartilage forms a ring, with a wide posterior region and a thinner anterior region. The trachea is lined with pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium, which is continuous with the larynx.
For young children or individuals who have difficulty using an inhaler, asthma medications can be administered via a nebulizer.
The respiratory zone includes the structures of the lung that are directly involved in gas exchange: the terminal bronchioles and alveoli.
An ala is a cartilaginous structure that forms the lateral side of each naris (plural = nares), or nostril opening. Serous and mucus-producing cells also secrete the lysozyme enzyme and proteins called defensins, which have antibacterial properties. Both the uvula and soft palate move like a pendulum during swallowing, swinging upward to close off the nasopharynx to prevent ingested materials from entering the nasal cavity. Three smaller, paired cartilages—the arytenoids, corniculates, and cuneiforms—attach to the epiglottis and the vocal cords and muscle that help move the vocal cords to produce speech.
The size of the membranous folds of the true vocal cords differs between individuals, producing voices with different pitch ranges. A bronchial tree (or respiratory tree) is the collective term used for these multiple-branched bronchi. Immune cells that patrol the connective tissue deep to the respiratory epithelium provide additional protection. In addition, auditory (Eustachian) tubes that connect to each middle ear cavity open into the nasopharynx. Similar to the pharyngeal tonsil, the palatine and lingual tonsils are composed of lymphoid tissue, and trap and destroy pathogens entering the body through the oral or nasal cavities.
The main function of the bronchi, like other conducting zone structures, is to provide a passageway for air to move into and out of each lung. The act of swallowing causes the pharynx and larynx to lift upward, allowing the pharynx to expand and the epiglottis of the larynx to swing downward, closing the opening to the trachea.
These movements produce a larger area for food to pass through, while preventing food and beverages from entering the trachea.



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