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pl. arteries [Gr. artēria, windpipe, artery]
A vessel carrying blood away from the heart. Pulmonary arteries carry deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle to the lungs to pick up oxygen and to release carbon dioxide; systemic arteries carry oxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the rest of the body.
A typical artery has three tissue layers: the inner layer (tunica intima) has endothelial tissue; the middle layer (tunica media) has smooth muscle and elastic connective tissue; and the outer layer (tunica externa) has connective tissue.
STRUCTURE OF AN ARTERY