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Encyclopedia > Trabecula

Definition and etymology

n.   plural: trabeculae. adj. trabecular.
A small, often microscopic, tissue element in the form of a small beam, strut or rod, generally having a mechanical function, and usually but not necessarily composed of dense collagenous tissue.


Diminutive of Latin trabs = a small beam or bar. In the 19th century, the neologism trabeculum (with an assumed plural of trabecula) became popular, but is less etymologically correct. Trabeculum persists in some countries as a synonym for the trabecular meshwork of the eye, which is poor usage on the grounds of both etymology and descriptive accuracy. This is an area of tissue located around the base of the cornea, near the ciliary body, and is responsible for draining the aqueous humour from the eye via the anterior chamber (the chamber on the front of the eye covered by the cornea). ...


Biology

Trabeculae are usually composed of dense fibrous tissue, ie, mainly of collagen, and in most cases provide mechanical strengthening or stiffening to a soft solid organ, such as the spleen. They can be composed of other materials, such as bone or muscle. Millions of bony trabeculae combined into a 3-dimensional lattice are seen in cancellous bone, which is light but strong. The inner surface of the ventricles of the heart shows smooth thick arches of functioning heart muscle, the 'trabeculae carnae'. When crossing fluid-filled spaces, trabeculae may have the function of resisting tension (as in inflatable organs like the penis), or providing a cell filter (as in the trabecular meshwork of the eye). On histological section, a trabecula can look like a septum, but in 3 dimensions they are topologically distinct, with trabeculae being roughly rod or pillar-shaped and septa being sheet-like. Multiple perforations in a septum may reduce it to a collection of trabeculae, as happens to the walls of some of the pulmonary alveoli in emphysema. Grays illustration of a human femur, a typically recognized bone. ... For the abbreviation SEPTA, see SEPTA. A septum, in general, is a wall separating two cavities or two spaces containing a less dense material. ... The alveoli (singular:alveolus), tiny hollow sacs which are continuous with the airways, are the sites of gas exchange with the blood. ... Emphysema is a chronic lung disease. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
trabecula - Search Results - MSN Encarta (167 words)
The septomarginal trabecula (or moderator band) is a muscular band of heart tissue found in the right ventricle.
Trabecula: Description: This tray was inspired by the inner side and low density part of a bird bone.
Trabecula is very light weight, but the 3-dimensional structure makes it still extremely strong.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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