Microvessel

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Microvessels
Brain Microvessel.tif
A rhesus macaque cortical microvessel stained for focal adhesion kinase (green), zonula occludens 1 (red) and endothelial nuclei (blue). Image by Nathan S. Ivey, PhD and Andrew MacLean, PhD.
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.
Identifiers
Code TH H3.09.02.0.02001
Anatomical terminology

Microvessel or microvasculature refers to the smallest systems of blood vessels in a body, including those responsible for microcirculation, the system of smaller blood vessels that distribute 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.

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