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Respiratory System

Nares aka nostrils

the external openings leading into the nasal cavities

Nasal cavity

a space within & posterior to the external nose

Pharynx aka throat

the muscular tube extending from the nasal cavity to the esophagus & larynx


the respiratory tube that extends from the larynx to the main (primary) bronchi

Main (primary) bronchus

one of the two large respiratory tubes (right & left) that branches from the trachea & enters the lung


one of the paired respiratory system organs (right & left) in which gas exchange occurs


the muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominopelvic cavity which contracts during inspiration (pulls down toward your toes)

Serous membrane

moist membranes found in closed ventral (anterior) body cavities


the serous membranes associated with the lungs

Visceral pleura

the serous membrane which covers the external surface of each lung

Parietal pleura

-serous membrane which lines the thoracic wall & the mediastinum
-covers the superior surface of the diaphragm on each side of the thoracic cavity

Pleural cavity

the slit-like space between the visceral & parietal pleurae

Pleural fluid

serous lubricating fluid within the pleural cavity that is secreted by the pleurae


the region of the thoracic cavity between the lungs

Bronchial tree

the branching network of airways, from the main bronchi through the terminal bronchioles, that conducts air with each lung


a tough, flexible, supporting connective tissue

Lobar (secondary) bronchus

a respiratory tube that branches from a main bronchus & leads into one lung lobe

Segmental (tertiary) bronchus

a respiratory tube that branches from a secondary bronchus & leads into one bronchiopulmonary segment of the lung


a very small air passage without supporting cartilage

Terminal bronchiole

the smallest, final type of bronchiole the "conducting zone"

Respiratory zone

the lung region containing alveoli, where gas exchange occurs

Conducting zone

the airways from the nasal cavity through the terminal bronchioles, that conduct air to the respiratory zones of the lungs

Alveolar duct

an elongated air passageway completely lined by alveoli


thin-walled, air-filled sacs in which gas exchange occurs

Alveolar sac

clusters of alveoli that open into a common space

What tissue lines the alveoli?

simple squamous epithelium (aka type 1 cell)

Alveolar fluid

the liquid film that coats the alveolar walls, composed primarily of water

Surface tension

the force of attraction between water molecules at an air-water surface, which draws water molecules closer together


a mixture of phospholipids & lipoproteins which lowers the surface tension of the alveolar fluid

Respiratory membrane

the very thin membrane across which gas exchange occurs in the lungs

What is the respiratory membrane composed of?

-simple squamous epithelium lining the alveoli
-endothelium of the pulmonary capillary walls
-both the above's fused basement membrane

Larynx (voice box)

-passageway for air moving from pharynx to trachea
-contains vocal cords


the bodily process of inhalation & exhalation

Carbonic acid

a weak acid that forms when water mixes with carbon dioxide from air

Carbonic anhydrase

an enzyme found in red blood cells that speeds the conversion of carbon dioxide and water to carbonic acid

Internal respiration

exchange of gases between the blood and the cells of the body

External respiration

exchange of gases between the lungs and the blood

Dust cell

-aka alveolar macrophage
-a type of macrophage found in the pulmonary alveolus which reside on respiratory surfaces & cleans off particles such as dust or microorganisms


air in the pleural cavity caused by a puncture of the lung or chest wall

Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS)

a condition most often caused by absence or impairment of the surfactant in the fluid that lines the alveoli

Dead space

air that occupies the space between the mouth and alveoli but that does not actually reach the area of gas exchange

Dalton's Law

the total pressure exerted by a mixture of gases is equal to the sum of the partial pressures exerted by each individual gas

Henry's Law

the solubility of a gas in a liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas on the surface of the liquid


a chemical substance or a system that minimizes changes in pH by releasing or binding hydrogen ions

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