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anterior nasal cavityOverview

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thumbnail anterior nasal cavity h&e 4x thumbnail anterior nasal cavity h&e 10x
thumbnail anterior nasal cavity h&e 20x thumbnail anterior nasal cavity h&e 40x

Mice are obligate nasal breathers. The anterior portion of the nasal cavity (vestibule) connects their nostrils (anterior nares) with the air passage system. The nasal septum consisting of cartilage surrounded by bone divides the anterior nasal cavities in two, while two pairs of bony ridges, the nasoturbinate and maxilloturbinate, project from the walls. The nostrils and the beginning of the anterior nasal cavity are lined by stratified squamous epithelium, whereas the rest of the anterior nasal cavity, including the nasoturbinate and maxilloturbinate, has a lining of respiratory epithelium, a ciliated pseudostratified columnar epithelium interspersed with goblet cells. The lamina propria underlying the epithelium in the anterior nasal cavity contains serous glands (mucous glands at the posterior septum) and cavernous veins. At the end of the nasal septum the two anterior nasal cavities open through the posterior nares into the pharyngeal duct, a straight tube that goes to the pharynx. The anterior nasal cavities extend at their posterior end into the blindly ending posterior nasal cavities, which contain several nasal turbinates, convoluted structure with a bony core.

The 4X, 10X, and 20X micrographs of the anterior nasal cavity show that the structure of the nose is supported by hyaline cartilage and that cavernous veins are present in the lamina propria (connective tissue) of the mucosa. The 20X micrograph demonstrates how the stratified squamous epithelium of the nostril and first part of the nasal cavity transitions into respiratory epithelium. The 40X micrograph clearly shows that the respiratory epithelium of the anterior nasal cavity is pseudostratified columnar ciliated epithelium.

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