Respiratory System

The Respiratory System
The respiratory system works with the cardiovascular system to exchange gases between the air and blood (external respiration) and between blood and tissue fluids (internal respiration).  Inspiration and expiration move air in and out of the lungs during breathing.  Cellular respiration is the final destination where ATP is produced in cells.

The respiratory tract

The Respiratory Tract
 Air

is cleansed, warmed, and moistened as it passes the cilia and mucus in the nostrils and nasal cavity.  In the nose, the hairs and the cilia act as a screening device.  In the trachea, the cilia beat upward, carrying dust and mucus into the pharynx.  Exhaled air carries out heat and moisture.

The Nose
two nasal cavities are divided by a septum.  They contain olfactory cells, receive tear ducts from eyes, and communicate with sinuses.  The nasal cavities empty into the nasopharynx.  Auditory tubes lead from the middle ears to the nasopharynx.
 The

The path of air

The Pharynx
 The

from the nasal cavities to oral cavities and to the larynx.  The pharynx contains the tonsils; the respiratory tract assists the immune system in maintaining homeostasis.  The pharynx takes air from the nose to the larynx and takes food from the oral cavity to the esophagus.

pharynx (throat) is a passageway

The Larynx
 The

lying between the pharynx and the trachea.  The larynx houses the vocal cords.  A flap of tissue called the epiglottis covers the glottis, an opening to the larynx.  In young men, rapid growth of the larynx and vocal cords changes the voice.

larynx is a cartilaginous structure

Placement of the vocal cords

The Trachea
 The

cartilaginous rings, is lined by ciliated cells, which sweep impurities up toward the pharynx.  Smoking destroys the cilia.  The trachea takes air to the bronchial tree.  Blockage of the trachea requires an operation called a tracheostomy to form an opening.

trachea, supported by C-shaped

Cilia in the trachea

The Bronchial Tree
The trachea divides into right and left primary bronchi which lead into the right and left lungs.  The right and left primary bronchi divide into ever smaller bronchioles to conduct air to the alveoli.  An asthma attack occurs when smooth muscles in the bronchioles constrict and cause wheezing.

The Lungs
 Lungs

are paired, cone-shaped organs that lie on either side of the heart and within the thoracic cavity.  The right lung has three lobes, and the left lung has two lobes, allowing for the space occupied by the heart.  The lungs are bounded by the ribs and diaphragm.

The Alveoli
 Alveoli

are the tiny air sacs of the lungs made up of squamous epithelium and surrounded by blood capillaries.  Alveoli function in gas exchange, oxygen diffusing into the bloodstream and carbon dioxide diffusing out.  Infant respiratory distress syndrome occurs in premature infants where underdeveloped lungs lack surfactant (thin film of lipoprotein) and collapse.

Gas exchange in the lungs

Mechanism of Breathing
 During

breathing, air moves into the lungs during inspiration (inhalation) from the nose or mouth, then moves out again during expiration (exhalation).  A spirometer allows measurement of the components of air during breathing.

When we inhale (inspiration) impulses from the respiratory center in the medulla oblongata cause the rib cage to rise and the diaphragm to lower, causing the thoracic cavity to expand.  The negative pressure or partial vacuum in the alveoli causes the air to come in.  Changing amounts of blood of CO2 and H+ increase breathing rate.


When we exhale (expiration), lack of impulses from the respiratory center allow the rib cage to lower and diaphragm to resume dome shape.  Expiration is passive, while inspiration is active.  The elastic recoil of the lungs causes expiration.  A deep breath causes alveoli to stretch; stretch receptors then inhibit the respiratory center.


Gas Exchanges in the Body
 External
 External


CO2 from pulmonary capillaries into alveolar sacs and O2 from alveolar sacs into pulmonary capillaries.

respiration is the diffusion of

 Most

CO2 is carried as bicarbonate ions.

 The

enzyme carbonic anhydrase, in red blood cells, speeds up the conversion of bicarbonate and H+ to H2O and CO2; CO2 enters alveoli and is exhaled.
(Hb) takes up oxygen from alveoli and becomes oxyhemoglobin (HbO2).

 Hemoglobin

Internal Respiration
 Internal

from systemic capillaries into tissues and CO2 from tissue fluid into systemic capillaries.
gives up O2, which diffuses out of the blood and into the tissues because the partial pressure of O2 of tissues fluid is lower than that of the blood.

respiration is the diffusion of O2

 Oxyhemoglobin

 After

CO2 diffuses from tissue cells into the blood, it enters red blood cells where a small amount is taken up by hemoglobin, forming carbaminohemoglobin.

External and internal respiration

Respiration and Health
 The

presence of disease in the upper or lower respiratory tract means that homeostasis is threatened.
 Upper

Respiratory Tract Infections  These infections involve the nasal cavities, pharynx, or larynx.  Some infections, such as “strep throat”, can lead to systemic body infection.

Sites of upper respiratory infections

 Sinusitis

is infection of the cranial sinuses within the facial skeleton that drain into nasal cavities.  It occurs when nasal congestion blocks the sinus openings and is relieved when drainage is restored.  Pain and tenderness over the lower forehead and cheeks, and toothache, accompany this condition.

Otitis Media
 Otitis

middle ear.  Children suffer when a nasal infection spreads to the middle ear by way of the auditory tube and antibiotics are usually used to clear the infection.  Sometimes drainage tubes (called tympanostomy tubes) are inserted into the eardrums of children with recurrent infections.

media is bacterial infection of the

 Tonsillitis
 Tonsillitis

is infection of tonsils and recurrent infections that make breathing or swallowing difficult may be relieved by a tonsillectomy.
 Laryngitis

 Laryngitis

is an infection of the larynx and usually results in a loss of voice.  Persistent hoarseness is a warning sign of cancer.

Lower Respiratory Tract Disorders

Lower respiratory infections include:

1) acute bronchitis, an infection of primary
and secondary bronchi;

2) pneumonia involving a bacterial or viral
infection of the lungs; and

3) pulmonary tuberculosis (infection caused
by tubercle bacillus).

Restrictive Pulmonary Disorders
 In

capacity is reduced because the lungs have lost their elasticity due to inhaled particles such as silica, coal dust, or asbestos.
connective tissue builds in the lungs in pulmonary fibrosis, caused by exposure to inhaled particles, including those of fiberglass.

restrictive pulmonary disorders, vital

 Fibrous

Obstructive Pulmonary Disorders
 In

does not flow freely in the airways, and inhalation and exhalation are difficult.

obstructive pulmonary disorders, air

 Chronic

bronchitis with inflamed airways, emphysema where alveolar walls break down, and asthma with constricted

bronchioles obstruct the airways and tend to get progressively worse or recur.

Lower respiratory tract disorders

Lung Cancer
 Lung

thickening of airway cells, loss of cilia on the lining, cells with atypical nuclei, tumor development, and finally metastasis.

cancer follows this sequence of events:

 Removal

of a lobe or lung, called pneumonectomy, may remove the cancer. whether active or passive, is a major cause of lung cancer.

 Smoking,

Normal lung versus cancerous lung