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Recommended video: Cardiovascular system [12:58]
Anatomy and function of the cardiovascular system.

An arteriole is the smallest division of the arterial network, connecting arteries to capillary beds. The walls of arterioles contain each of the three layers of blood vessels (tunica intima, media and adventitia), however they are relatively thin and have a narrow lumen. The endothelial cells of arterioles are small with lumen projecting nuclei, the tunica media contains only one to three layers of smooth muscle, while the tunica adventitia is very thin. The smallest arterioles that directly feed capillary beds are termed metarterioles.

Functionally, arterioles are the primary resistance vessels, providing about 80% of total peripheral resistance to blood flow. Constriction of the lumen within arterioles by the smooth muscle of the tunica media controls blood flow into capillaries and mediates mean arterial blood pressure. 

Terminology English: Arteriole
Latin: Arteriola
Definition A vessel of the arterial network connecting arteries to capillary beds
Function Provide majority of peripheral resistance to blood flow, controlling blood flow and blood pressure 

Learn more about the blood vessels with this study unit (and article):

Arteriole: want to learn more about it?

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