4. Circulatory and Respiratory system


Larynx; Image: Begoña Rodriguez


Following the laryngopharynx, the next and last portion of the upper respiratory tract is the superior part of the larynx. The larynx is a complex hollow structure found anterior to the esophagus. It is supported by a cartilaginous skeleton connected by membranes, ligaments and associated muscles. Above the vocal cords, the larynx is lined with stratified squamous epithelium like the laryngopharynx. Below the vocal cords, this epithelium transitions into pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium with goblet cells (respiratory epithelium). 

Besides its main function to conduct the air, the larynx also houses the vocal cords that participate in voice production. The laryngeal inlet is closed by the epiglottis during swallowing to prevent food or liquid from entering the lower respiratory tract.

If you want to learn more about the anatomy and function of the larynx, take a look at the study unit below!

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