An artery (pl. arteries) is one of several types of blood vessels that transport blood around the body.
The structure of an artery is as follows:
The walls (outer structure) of arteries contain smooth muscle fibre that contract and relax under the instructions of the sympathetic nervous system.
The functions of arteries include:
- Transport blood away from the heart
- Carry oxygenated blood (except in the case of the pulmonary artery)
- Have relatively narrow lumens
- Have relatively more muscle / elastic tissue than veins
- Transports blood under higher pressure than veins
- Do not have valves - except for the semi-lunar valves of the pulmonary artery and the aorta
For more information about blood vessels and the components (sometimes called the 'constituents') of blood see the pages about the the structure and functions of blood vessels and the structure and functions of blood. This might interest students of holistic massage, reflexology, beauty therapies, or health-related courses.