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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 8 - Cardiovascular System

Plate 8.152 Aorta

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed


Plate 8.152 Aorta

Rabbit, 10% formalin, Weigert's elastic tissue and phloxine stains, 50 x.


The aorta is an example of an elastic artery. The wall of the aorta has three tunicae: intima, media, and adventitia. The transition from one tunica to the other is indistinct. The tunica intima is small and merges with the much thicker tunica media. The latter is composed mainly of concentrically arranged laminae of elastic tissue. The spaces between the elastic tissues are filled with smooth muscle fibers and fibroelastic tissue. Adjacent circles of elastic fibers connect by slanting bands to form complex elastic nets.

The adventitia is small and is made up of collagenous connective tissue. The richness of elastic tissue in the aorta permits distensibility and maintenance of a uniform blood flow. The collagenous fibrous tissue of the adventitia prevents overdistension of the vessel. The lumen of the aorta is seen filled with erythrocytes.

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