The structure of arteries and veins are similar, but there are also some important differences (Figure 01). They both contain four major components, two living and two non-living. The living components are the endothelial cell lining and the smooth muscle. The two non-living components are elastin and collagen.
Arteries and veins are different, in that arteries have thicker walls. Also, some veins contain valves which guarantee unidirectional blood flow, which operate in conjunction with the rhythmic contraction of skeletal muscle, in the so-called skeletal muscle pump.
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