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Arteries are part of the circulatory system of the body. Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the body and deoxygenated blood to the lungs. An artery has three layers. The outer layer of tissue is the adventitia. The middle layer of tissue is the media that contains muscular tissue and/or elastic tissue. The intima is the innermost layer of tissue and contains a smooth epithelial cells. The elastic tissue allows arteries to expand as blood flows from the heart following each heartbeat. The artery walls then bounce back to push the blood further down the artery. The muscle tissue that is more common in smaller arteries can be controlled unconsciously by the nervous system to contract or expand to narrow or widen the artery. This muscle action can control the flow of blood through the body and help control blood pressure.
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