BSIP, GILLES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, GILLES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood vessels. Artwork showing red blood cells passing through an artery (top), a vein (middle) and a capillary (bottom). Arteries are the largest blood vessels. The arteries from the lungs carry oxygenated blood around the body. Veins to the heart carry deoxygenated blood back from the body. The red blood cells carry the oxygen and are elastic and pliable, allowing them to squeeze through the narrow capillaries. These are the smallest blood vessels, supplying blood to all parts of the body. The capillary walls are only one cell thick, allowing rapid exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the red blood cells and the body cells.
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