CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Digitised light micrograph of a cross-section of a healthy human artery. The wall of the artery is coloured yellow; at centre, the lumen through which blood flows is red. Arteries act as channels through which oxygenated blood is pumped from the heart to the rest of the body. Artery walls are strengthened to withstand this blood pressure of the pumping heart, and they are elastic and contain smooth muscle which is able to contract to aid the flow of blood. Here, the lumen is clear, allowing for the free passage of blood. Arteries can become lined with fatty deposits, in athero- sclerosis, which results in vascular disease.
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