Asked by JenifferBiology 🌱

What is the structure, function, and location of the pleura, pericardium, and peritoneum?

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Matthew Cotton

Graduate entry medical student with a 1st class Masters and BSc

Hi Jennifer I hope this clarifies things. Pleura: Location – the pleura is located in the chest and acts as a membrane that encases the lungs Structure – it has two layers, a visceral layer that surrounds the lungs and a parietal layer that lines the chest wall. Both layers are formed by cells called mesothelium. Function – The role of the pleura is to ensure that the pressure within the pleural cavity is lower than the environmental pressure. This means that when we breathe air is drawn into the lungs.  Finally, to prevent the layers of the pleural cavity from sticking together a liquid is found within the cavity to reduce the surface tension of any water. This stops the lungs from sticking to the chest wall. Pericardium: Location – This is a membranous sack that encases the heart. Structure – Similar to the pleura, the pericardium is made of a visceral layer that surrounds the heart and a second parietal layer that encases it. On top of that is another fibrous layer that acts as a protective coat. Function – The pericardium has several functions, however the most characteristic is to prevent the spreading of infection to the heart. The pericardial sack also contains a lubricant, which ensures the heart doesn’t stick to other tissue within the chest as it beats. Peritoneum: Location – This is a membranous sack that contains some of the visceral organs of the abdomen. Structure – The entire peritoneum is lined by mesothelium and has both a parietal layer that sticks to the abdominal wall and a visceral layer that lines some visceral organs. The organisation of the peritoneum is divided into two sections a lesser sac that lines some of the back of the stomach and a greater sac that lines the front of the stomach and most of the lower abdominal organs. Function – It primarily acts as a way of preventing the spread of infection and acts as a scaffold for abdominal organs. I hope that helps!

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Matthew Cotton

Graduate entry medical student with a 1st class Masters and BSc

Hi Jennifer, I hope this clarifies things. Pleura: Location - the pleura is located in the chest and acts as a membrane that encases the lungs. Structure - It has two layers, a visceral layer that surrounds the lung and a parietal layer that lines the chest wall. Both layers are formed by cells which are called mesothelium. Function - The role of the pleura is to ensure that the pressure within the pleural cavity is lower than the environment. This ensures that when we breath in air is drawn into the lungs. Finally, to ensure the pleural cavity contains a liquid called surfactant. This acts to lower the surface tension of water, whic in turn prevent the pleural layers from sticking together and as a result preventasy Pericardium: Location Structure Function Peritoneum: Location Structure Function

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