Trachea function – Trachea

Trachea function: The trachea is a cylindrical, vertical tube formed by rings of cartilage. It is located between the larynx and the bronchi and functions as a channel for the passage of air.

Trachea function

Trachea is a portion of the respiratory system that acts as a channel for air to pass through. This organ begins just after the larynx and continues to the place where it branches into the bronchi . Located in the region anterior to the esophagus, the trachea is made up of a series of cartilages in a “C” shape, which are important to prevent its collapse and ensure an adequate passage of air to the lungs.

Trachea function

Trachea function: The trachea is a kind of tube that serves as a passageway for air towards the lungs . Occlusion of the trachea therefore causes the interruption of the air passage, leading to difficulty in breathing.

The trachea is a vertical tube that ensures that air is carried into the lungs.

Trachea characteristics

The trachea is a cylindrical and cartilaginous organ that has a tube shape. This organ, which belongs to the respiratory system , extends from the region of the sixth cervical vertebra to the fifth thoracic vertebra, with a length of about 9 to 12.5 cm.

It begins just after the larynx and continues to the place where it branches, giving rise to two bronchi, which penetrate the lungs. At the height of the second, third and fourth rings of the trachea, the thyroid gland is located in the anterior region , responsible for the production of hormones related to our metabolism.

The trachea has a series of cartilages , of variable number (between 16 and 20), which prevent the canal from closing, providing an adequate flow of air. Tracheal cartilages are  hyaline and have a “C” shape, with the open portion facing the posterior side.

These free portions are connected by fibroelastic ligaments and smooth muscle, which act, respectively, to prevent excessive distension of the lumen and regulate its size. The smooth muscle, when contracting, reduces the lumen of the trachea, increasing the velocity of expired air, being important in the cough reflex.

The trachea is lined internally by a pseudostratified ciliated cylindrical epithelium with goblet cells. The lamina propria is made of loose connective tissue, where seromucous glands are present, which have ducts that open into the lumen of the organ. Goblet cells and seromucous glands are responsible for secreting mucus, which coats the inside of the organ.

Mucus is related to the cleaning of inspired air , being carried from the trachea to the pharynx by ciliary beats. This movement ensures that the mucus, along with the retained impurities, is swallowed. In addition to the mucus acting in cleaning, in the trachea there is a lymphocytic barrier that also guarantees protection against particles that can cause damage to the respiratory system. Externally, the trachea is lined with loose connective tissue.

Trachea function



Tracheostomy is the opening of the trachea, communicating it with the external environment.

Tracheostomy is a process performed in situations such as upper airway obstruction, tumors, swelling caused by infections, burns or an acute allergic reaction, and prolonged orotracheal intubation. In tracheostomy, an opening is made in the cervical portion of the trachea , allowing its communication with the external environment. The opening is kept open by a tube (cannula), which can be made of different materials, such as plastic or metal. Tracheostomy may or may not be permanent, which will depend on the patient’s conditions and the reasons that led to the procedure.

The trachea of ​​arthropods

Some arthropods breathe through tracheas (tracheal breathing), structures quite different from the human trachea . Arthropod tracheas are responsible for gas exchange and are characterized by being tubes that branch through the animal’s body. The larger tubes open to the outside and are called tracheas.

In the region of internal organs and tissues, the branches are found to be thinner, being called tracheolae. Air enters the trachea through openings located in the animal’s body called spiracles. The tracheal system allows oxygen to be delivered directly to the cells, without the need for transport through the circulatory system.

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