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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 10 - Digestive System

Plate 10.188 Esophagus

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

Muscularis externa

Plate 10.188 Esophagus

Dog, 10% formalin, H. & E., A. 162 x., B. & C. 612 x.


The external muscular coat of the esophagus is made up entirely of skeletal muscles in the upper third, of skeletal and smooth muscles in the middle third (A and B), and of purely smooth muscle in the lower third (C). Outside the muscle layer is a layer of collagenous connective tissue with fibroblasts, the adventitia (C) The orientation of muscle fibers also varies. Typically, an inner circular and outer longitudinal layer exist, but many bundles are arranged obliquely or in a spiral fashion. Between the two layers of muscle is a nerve plexus associated with numerous small ganglia, the myenteric plexus of Auerbach (A). This is mainly a parasympathetic (vagus nerve) plexus along with some postganglionic sympathetic nerves. it is named after Leopold Auerbach, a German anatomist, who described it in 1862.

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