Aorta (artery) inner endothelial cell surface, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). The aorta consists of an inner layer of endothelial cells (seen here) surrounded by muscle (not shown), which contracts to move blood along the aorta. The aorta is the main and largest artery (blood vessel) in the body. It is an elastic artery that originates from the left ventricle of the heart and brings oxygenated blood to the body via the systemic circulatory system. When the left ventricle contracts to force blood into the aorta, the aorta expands. This expansion and stretching gives the potential energy that will help maintain blood pressure during diastole. Magnification: x400 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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