Capillaries. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a network of capillaries from striated (skeletal) muscle. Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels in the body. Their cell walls are very thin and permeable, consisting of a single layer of endothelium, which allows oxygen and nutrients to pass easily into the muscle cells. The regular structure of the capillaries is due to their intimate association with the muscle cells and allows them to provide a variable flow of blood according to need. Magnification: x1400 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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