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Respiratory System Notes:

General Overview:


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Respiratory System

Conducting Zone Respiratory Zone
(site of gas exchange)
(Nose, Pharynx, Larynx, Bronchi (bronchioles, alveolar
and Bronchioles) ducts/saccules, alveoli)


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*Note: respiratory epithelium
(AKA pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium w/Goblet Cells)*

Conducting Zone:

I. Nose/Nasal Septum
2 nasal cavity separated by a cartilaginous (hyaline) nasal septum w/a mucus


1. inside cavities: EPI THELI UM changes
to stratified squamous non-keratinized pseudostratified ciliated
columnar type with goblet cells in the inner respiratory region.
a. epithelium sits on a lamina propria with serous and mucus
glands , and HYALINE cartilage

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2. cavities also lined with olfactory epithelium (ciliated):
a. Cells = sustenacular cells, olfactory cells, basal cells
b. Glands of Bowman and Ducts
Blue arrow - Sustantacular cell;
Red arrow - Olfactory Cell (Bipolar Neuron);
Green arrow - Basal Cell

3. bony projections from wall of nasal cavity = nasal conchae
a. covered by respiratory epithelium (pseudostratified ciliated
columnar with goblet cells)
b. with a lamina propria containing numerous collapsed veins

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II. Epiglottis
flap-like projection, covered by a mucus membrane; sits on top of the larynx
(Be able to identify the laryngeal from the pharyngeal side)

1. epithelium = stratified squamous non-keratinized EXCEPT for a
smaller circular patch of respiratory epithelium
(in the laryngeal opening)
2. core of ELASTIC cartilage and mixed glands = in lamina propria on
the (laryngeal side)

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III. Larynx
connects the pharynx and trachea; contains hyaline cartilages bound together by
connective tissue and the vocal cords
Be able to identify true from false vocal chords

1. All lined with:
a. pseudostratified ciliated columnar = (i.e. larynx including
false vocal cords (sit superior to true vocal cords))


b. stratified squamous non-keratinized epithelium = true vocal cords

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2. TrueVocal chords = folds in the mucus membrane, covered by stratified
squamous non-keratinized epithelium

a. layer of fibroelastic connective tissues
b. a core of skeletal muscle

Vocal Chords Continued:

Red arrow True Vocal Chords;
Blue arrow - Transition from False to True Vocal cords

Yellow arrow - True Vocal Cords (Non-keratinized stratified squamous) Green
Arrow - False Vocal Cord (Psuedostratified Ciliated); Black arrow - Transition
Point; Red arrow Cilia; Orange arrow - Skeletal Muscle (True Vocal Cords)
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IV. Trachea
connects larynx and bronchi; shares an adventitia with the esophagus

3 Major Layers:

1. MUCUS MEMBRANE = respiratory epithelium (pseudostratified ciliated
columnar epithelium w/goblet cells), a lamina propria and a distinct elastic lamina

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2. SUBMUCOSA = respiratory epithelium, lamina propria w/mucus glands, elastic
lamina, hyaline cartilage and mucus and mixed glands

*NOTE: hyaline cartilages = horseshoe shaped;
between ends of cartilages ring = fibroelastic connective tissue and smooth

3. ADVENTI TI A=connective tissue shared with the esophagus

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Bronchial Tree
IV. Bronchi (Overview)

Note: Cartilage Rings = Hyaline Cartilage (as continued from the trachea)

**Will ONLY See 3
Bronchi in LAB**

Trachea ends - dividing into 3 branches:
or Extrapulmonary Bronchi

or Lobar Bronchi

or Segmental Bronchi.

Bronchi enter the lungs, and branch to each lobe =
or Lobar Bronchi.
Bronchi will branch and enter the lungs as
or Segmental Bronchi.

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1. Primary (Extrapulmonary Bronchi): extension of trachea
(found outside lungs)
Same histology as the trachea
a. smaller diameter
b. a continuous ring of cartilage

2. Secondary (Lobar Bronchi):
(extending from inside to outside of lungs)
Same as primary bronchi
a. walls = irregular shaped cartilage
b. a complete layer of smooth muscle around the tube

Red dotted Line Bronchus; Yellow arrow - Plates Of Cartilage

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3. Tertiary (Segmental Bronchi): (found deepest in lung)
a. folded respiratory epithelial lining (contraction of smooth muscle)
b. mucus glands are found between the muscle and segmented
White dotted line - Bronchus
Blue arrow - Cartilage Plate

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Respiratory Zone:

I. Bronchioles


or Segmental Bronchi - dividing into 3 branches:

Primary (Preterminal)


Tertiary (Respiratory)
Bronchioles contain: NO cartilage, goblet cells, or mucus glands

Bronchiole epithelium: simple columnar ciliated epithelium,
non-ciliated Clara Cells (secrete a surfactant),
a lamina propria and
smooth muscle layer

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A. Primary (Preterminal): folded layer of epithelium

B. Secondary (Terminal): flattened epithelial layer

Red arrow - Respiratory Bronchiole; Blue arrow - Terminal

Red arrow - Terminal Bronchiole;
Blue arrow - Respiratory Bronchiole

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C. Tertiary (Respiratory): walls of bronchioles become

a. outpocketings in walls lead to areas of gas exchange
b. free terminations open into straight spaces (alveolar ducts)

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II. Inside Respiratory Zone:

A. Alveolar Ducts: straight spaces continuous with the free terminations or
the respiratory bronchioles
Green arrow - Alveolar Duct; Blue arrow - Alveolar Sac

B. Alveolar Saccules: round spaces (like a bunch of grapes)
communicating with the ducts and the alveoli

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C. Alveoli: spur-like partitions around periphery of saccules

1. Interalveolar wall: contains capillary endothelial cells

3 Cell Types:

a. Pneumocyte Type I: very thin squamous cell type;
Function = gas exchange

b. Pneumocyte Type II: rounded cell with cytoplasmic granules
Function = produces pulmonary surfactant

c. Alveolar Phagocytes (Dust Cells): seen at surface of the wall/ or in
the free space
Function = lung macrophages