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Involves both the respiratory and the circulatory systems
4 processes that supply the body with oxygen and dispose of carbon dioxide

Respiratory System

Pulmonary ventilation (breathing)
External respiration: oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in lungs

Circulatory System

Transport: oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood
Internal respiration: oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanger in tissues

Nasal Mucosa

During inhalation: Filter, heat and moisten air
During exhalation: Reclaim heat and moisture (only some of the heat and moisture are reclaimed)-significant body heat can be lost during exhalation

Paranasal Sinuses

In frontal, sphenoid, ethmoid, and maxillary bones
Lighten the skull and help to warm and moisten the air


Attaches to the hyoid bone
Continuous with the trachea
Functions: (1.) Air flow (2.) Routes air and food into proper channels (3.) Voice production

Cartilages of the larynx

Hyaline cartilage except for the epiglottis.
Thyroid cartilage with laryngeal prominence (Adam's apple).
Ring-shaped cricoid cartilage.
Paired arytenoid, cuneiform, and corniculate cartilages


elastic cartilage; covers the laryngeal inlet during swallowing


(a) Anterior superficial view
Epiglottis, Body of hyoid bone, Thyrohyoid membrane, Thryoid cartilage, Laryngeal prominence (Adam's apple), Cricothryoid ligament, Cricoid cartilage, Cricotracheal ligament, Tracheal cartilages

Vocal ligaments

Attach the arytenoid cartilages to the thyroid cartilage
Contain elastic fibers
Form core of vocal folds (true vocal cords): Opening between them is the glottis
Folds vibrate to produce sound as air rushed up from the lungs

Vestibular folds (false vocal cords)

Superior to the vocal folds
No part in sound production
Help to close the glottis during swallowing

Voice Production

Speech: intermittent release of expired air while opening and closing the glottis
Pitch is determined by the length and tension of the vocal cords
Loudness depends upon the force of air
Cambers of pharynx, oral, nasal, and sinus cavities amplify and enhance sound quality
Sound is "shaped" into language by muscles of the pharynx, tongue, soft palate, and lips


Vocal folds may act as a sphincter to prevent air passage
Example: Valsalva's maneuver
Glottis closes to prevent exhalation
Abdominal muscles pressure rises
Helps to empty the rectum or stabilizes the trunk during heavy lifting


Windpipe: from the larynx into the mediastinum
Wall composed of three layers
1. Mucosa: ciliated epithelium
2. Submucosa: connective tissue
3. Adventitia: outermost layer made of connective tissue that encases the C-shaped rings of hyaline cartilage

Trachealis muscle

Connects posterior parts of cartilage rings
Contracts during coughing to expel mucus


Last tracheal cartilage
Point where trachea branches into two bronchi

(a) Cross section of the trachea and esophagus


Bronchi and Subdivisions

Air passages undergo 23 orders of branching
Branching patter called the bronchial (respiratory) tree

Conduction Zone Structures

Trachea=> right and left main (primary) bronchi
Each main bronchus enters the hilum of one lung. Right main bronchus is wider, shorter, and more vertical than the left
Each main bronchus branches into lobar (secondary) bronchi (three right, two left). Each bronchus supplies one lobe
Each lobar bronchus branches into segmental (tertiary) bronchi. Segmental bronchi divide repeatedly
Bronchioles are less than 1 mm in diameter
Terminal bronchioles are the smallest, less than 0.5 mm diameter
From bronchi through bronchioles, structural changes occur: Cartilage rings give way to plates; cartilage is absent from bronchioles
Epithelium changes from pseudostratified columnar to cuboidal; cilia and goblet cells become sparse
Relative amount of smooth muscle increases

Respiratory Zone

Respiratory bronchioles, alveolar ducts, alveolar sacs (clusters of alveaoli)
~300 million alveoli account for most of the lungs' volume and are the main site for gas exchange

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