Terminal bronchiole

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Terminal bronchiole
Alveoli diagram.png
Diagram of the alveoli with both cross-section and external view.
Latin bronchioli terminalis
Gray's subject #240 1098
Dorlands/Elsevier b_23/12197525

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


A terminal bronchiole is a bronchiole at the end of the conducting zone. At the transition into the respiratory zone, alveoli become present.

The terminal bronchiole is the most distal segment of the conducting zone. Each of the terminal bronchioles divides to form respiratory bronchioles which contain a smal number of alveoli. Terminal bronchioles are lined with simple cuboidal epithelium containing Clara cells. Terminal bronchioles contain a limited number of ciliated cells and no goblet cells. Clara cells are non-ciliated, rounded protein secreting cells. Their secretions are a nonsticky, proteinaceous compound to maintain the airway in the smallest bronchioles. The secretion, called surfactant, reduces surface tension allowing for bronchioles to expand during inspiration and keeping the bronchioles from collapsing during expiration. Clara cells, a stem cell of the respiratory system, produce enzymes that detoxify substances dissolved in the respiratory fluid.

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