The trachea, or windpipe, is a tube that connects the pharynx or larynx to the lungs, enabling the i of air.

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Key Points

The trachea is lined with pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium cells through goblet cells that develop mucus. Over there are around 15 to 20 C-shaped cartilaginous rings the reinforce the anterior and also lateral sides of the trachea to protect and also maintain the airway, leave a membranous wall (pars membranacea) dorsally without cartilage wherein the C-shape is open. The cartilaginous rings room C-shaped to enable the trachea to collapse slightly at the opened so the food deserve to pass under the esophagus. The trachealis muscle connect the end of the open part of the C-shaped rings and also contracts during coughing, to reduce the size of the lumen the the trachea to rise the air circulation rate. The stomach lies posteriorly to the trachea. The mucocilliary escalator helps avoid pathogens native entering the lungs. The trachea is component of the conducting zone and also contributes to anatomical dead space.

Key Terms

cilia: Tiny, hair-like projections from a cell. mucocilliary escalator: The ladder through mucus and cilia in the trachea that pushes mucus up the trachea and also into the pharynx to protect against mucus pathogens from entering the lungs. anatomical dead space: The room in the respiratory tract that isn’t associated in alveolar ventilation and is part of the typical conducting zone the the respiratory tract system.


The trachea: This is the trachea in relationship to the rest of the respiratory tract system.

The trachea, or windpipe, is a tube the connects the pharynx or larynx come the lungs, allowing the i of air. That is lined through pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium cells with goblet cells that produce mucus. The trachea is component of the conducting zone because that air into and also out of the lungs.

Anatomy that the Trachea

The trachea is a long tube the extends from the pharynx and also larynx to the bronchi the the lungs. It typically has an within diameter of about 25.4 millimeters (1.00 in) and also a size of around 10 come 16 centimeters.

The trachea commences in ~ the reduced border the the larynx, level with the sixth cervical vertebra, and bifurcates right into the main bronchi in ~ the vertebral level of thoracic vertebra T5, or up to two vertebrae lower or higher, depending upon breathing.

At the peak of the trachea and also bottom that the larynx is the cricoid cartilage, the only finish ring the cartilage in the trachea. Extending downward transparent the size of the pipe are about fifteen to 20 C-shaped cartilaginous rings that reinforce the outer structure and also shape that the trachea—the open part of each C-shaped ring expose a membranous wall on the inside of the trachea.

Histology the the Trachea: A cross section of the trachea, reflecting the hyaline cartilage, mucus glands, and also ciliated epithelium.

The cartilage the the trachea is considered hyaline cartilage: simple, transparent, and also made generally of collagen. The trachealis muscle connect the open ends the the C-shaped rings of cartilage and contracts throughout coughing, reduce the dimension of the lumen of the trachea to rise the air circulation rate.

The stomach lies behind the trachea. The C-shaped cartilaginous rings allow the trachea come collapse contempt at that is opening, so food can pass under the stomach after swallowing.

The epiglottis closes the opened to the larynx during swallowing to prevent swallowed matter from entering the trachea.

Physiology the the Trachea

This mucus and cilia the the trachea type the mucociliary escalator, i m sorry lines the cell of the trachea v mucus to trap inhaled international particles. The cilia then waft upward toward the larynx and the pharynx, where it can be one of two people swallowed right into the stomach (and damaged by acid) or expelled as phlegm.

The mucociliary escalator is among the most vital functions the the trachea and also is additionally considered a obstacle component of the immune system due its duty in preventing pathogens from entering the lungs. The epithelium and the mucociliary ladder deserve to be damaged by cigarette smoking tobacco and alcohol consumption, which deserve to make pneumonia (an epidemic of the alveoli the the lungs) native bacteria in the top respiratory tract more likely come occur as result of the lose of barrier function.

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As a part of the conducting zone the the lungs, the trachea is necessary in warming and moistening air before it get the lungs. The trachea is additionally considered a part of common anatomical dead an are (space in the airway the isn’t involved in alveolar gas exchange) and also its volume contributes to calculations of ventilation and also physiological (total) dead space. That is not thought about alveolar dead space, a ax that refers to alveoli the don’t partake in gas exchange due to damage or absence of blood supply.


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