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A red blood cell in a capillary, pancreatic tissue - TEM.jpg
Transmission electron microscope image of a capillary with a red blood cell within the pancreas. The capillary lining consists of long, thin endothelial cells, connected by tight junctions.
SystemCirculatory system
Anatomical terminology

Microvessels are the smallest blood vessels in a body, including those responsible for microcirculation. They make up the microvasculature that distributes blood within tissues. Common examples of microvessels include:

  • Arterioles, a small diameter blood vessel that extends and branches out from an artery and leads to capillaries
  • Capillaries, the smallest blood vessels
  • Metarterioles, a vessel that links arterioles and capillaries
  • Venules, a blood vessel that allows deoxygenated blood to return from the capillary beds to the larger blood vessels called veins
  • Thoroughfare channel, a venous vessel receiving blood directly from capillary beds. It is a tributary to venules
Blood flows away from the heart to arteries, which follow into arterioles, and then narrow further into capillaries. After the tissue has been perfused, capillaries branch and widen to become venules and then widen more and connect to become veins, which return blood to the heart.