- Understand the structure of the heart and its conducting system.
- Know the components of the vascular wall and how these differ among the types of blood vessels.
The cardiovascular system is composed of the heart and a continuous system of blood vessels including arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules, and veins. Together the lymphatic vessels and the cardiovascular system form the circulatory system.
Each component of the cardiovascular system is comprised of three layers referred to as tunics. The innermost layer is the tunica intima, which includes a single layer of cells lining the lumen called the endothelium. The middle layer is known as the tunica media, and the outermost layer is the tunica adventitia. There are important histological differences in the composition of these layers within each component of this system, which will be explored later in this lab.