The trachea

Part of collection:
6 May 2021

It is part of the Bronchial Tree. The trachea is commonly known as the windpipe. The trachea is the trunk of the bronchial tree and the main airway to the lungs. It is a wide, hollow tube that connects the larynx to the bronchi of the lungs. Located along the midline of the body midline, anterior to the oesophagus. It connects to the larynx at the level of the sixth cervical vertebra. It extends down in the thorax posterior to the sternum before dividing into the right and left bronchi of the lungs at the fifth thoracic vertebra. The homogenous hyaline cartilage in the tracheal wall provides support and keeps the trachea from collapsing in respiration. On the posterior wall, there is soft tissue, which allows for the expansion of the oesophagus.

The trachea is lined with a mucous membrane called the ciliated pseudostratified columnar epithelium, a respiratory epithelium. The ciliated pseudostratified columnar epithelium, similar to that in the navel cavity, contains many goblet cells that produce sticky mucus to coat the trachea's inner lining, which catches debris present in inhaled air before it reaches the lungs. On the surface of ciliated pseudostratified columnar epithelium are microscopic cilia that beat and move together like a conveyor belt pushing away the mucous that has collected any debris back to the larynx to be coughed out of the body or swallowed into digestion.