Pulmonary Respiration

We have already mentioned the idea of a respiratory membrane, or the air-blood barrier. The respiratory membrane is the extremely thin barrier between the air within the cavity of each alveolus, and the blood within the lumen of an adjacent pulmonary capillary. The wall of the alveolus, plus the wall of the neighboring pulmonary capillary, together make up the respiratory membrane. The walls of the alveolus and its pulmonary capillary are so close, in fact, that the basement membranes of each one are fused together! (Check back with the extreme close-up, in Figure 13.3, C.)

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