Infobox Anatomy
Name = Bronchiole
Latin =
GraySubject = 240
GrayPage = 1098

Caption = Diagram of the alveoli with both cross-section and external view.

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DorlandsPre = Bronchioles
DorlandsSuf = A04.411.125
The bronchioles or bronchioli are the first airway branches that no longer contain cartilage. They are branches of the bronchi, and are smaller than one millimeter in diameter.

There are no glands or cartilage in any of the bronchioles, and the epithelial cells become more cuboidal in shape.

The bronchioles terminate by entering the circular sacs called alveoli.

Control of airflow resistance and air distribution in the lungs is controlled by the bronchioles.


Bronchospasm, a life-threatening situation, occurs when the smooth muscular tissue of the bronchioles constricts, severely narrowing their diameter. Bronchospasm is commonly treated by oxygen therapy and bronchodilators.

The medical condition of inflammation of the bronchioles is termed bronchiolitis. Diseases of the bronchioles include asthma, bronchiolitis obliterans, respiratory syncytial virus infection, and influenza.


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • bronchiole — Mod.L., from dim. of bronchia (see BRONCHIAL (Cf. bronchial)) …   Etymology dictionary

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  • bronchiole — UK [ˈbrɒŋkɪəʊl] / US [ˈbrɑŋkɪoʊl] noun [countable] Word forms bronchiole : singular bronchiole plural bronchioles medical a very small tube inside your lungs that is connected to one of your bronchi (= the two main tubes inside each lung) …   English dictionary

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