P. MARSEAUD, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY P. MARSEAUD, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artery and red blood cells. Artwork of an artery and red blood cells. In the background, red and blue tubes represent arteries and veins respectively. The artery has been cut away to show the red blood cells (erythrocytes). These are specialised cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to body tissues, and carbon dioxide waste gases back to the lungs. The red blood cells are pumped around the body in arteries, reach the tissues in capillaries (about the width of a red blood cell) and then drain back to the heart in veins. The structure of the artery wall is shown, including smooth muscle cells.
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