Anatomy & Organs

Bronchi – structure, function & diseases


The lung is an organ that is characterized by an extremely complex structure and a complicated structure. The bronchi are very central components that have a decisive influence on the anatomy of the lungs .

What are bronchi?

The bronchi play a crucial role in the function and structure of the airways. In this context, the bronchi are a collective term for various departments of the airways and are also referred to as the so-called “dead space” of the lungs , since no active gas exchange takes place there.

The bronchi comprise tree-like and tapering branches of the trachea, the windpipe . If there are functional disorders of the bronchi or abnormalities in their structure, there can be significant restrictions on physical health.

The bronchi also form the tissue-related basis for the lungs and are more or less intensively involved in gas exchange. On the other hand, the bronchi have a very delicate morphology.

Anatomy & Structure

The fine structure of the bronchi is extremely important in order to be able to do justice to the vital task of breathing. In addition, the bronchi are sometimes subject to extreme environmental influences.When the bronchi pass from the trachea into the bronchial tissue, these components are very delicate. In their finest areas, they pass into the bronchioles and from there into the alveoli. In the anatomy of the bronchi, the large and small as well as the bronchioles are relevant. All indicated sections of the bronchi are characterized by alternating types of tissue.

The most important tissues in the bronchi include the mucous membranes with the mucus-producing nozzles and the ciliated epithelium, the connective tissue made of collagen, cartilaginous tissue braces and the muscles. There are no mucous glands in the bronchioles.

Functions & Tasks

The main tasks of the bronchi , which are located in the lowest part of the respiratory tract , include transporting the inhaled air to the alveoli, where the actual gas exchange takes place, cleaning the inhaled air and distributing it evenly to all lobes of the lungs.

In addition, particles from the air we breathe stick to the mucous zones and the ciliated epithelium, so that they can later be transported away through the bronchi when you cough. In this way, the bronchi prevent the alveoli from sticking together and pathogens from being inhaled.

The bronchi direct the air into the alveoli, so that the oxygen-poor, carbon-dioxide-rich blood receives oxygen again there. To ensure that the bronchi do not collapse in the upper regions, cartilaginous tissue and muscle tissue have a special supporting function. The sticky ciliated epithelium, which is constantly moistened by the goblet cells, cleans the air.


The diseases and complaints of the bronchi are mainly about acute and chronic inflammation of the bronchi. Acute bronchitis in particular is usually accompanied by a flu-like infection and usually heals quickly.This is different with bronchitis, which keeps coming back and is therefore classified as chronic. Chronic bronchitis can be caused by excessive irritation of the bronchi. This is usually triggered by “foreign bodies” such as nicotine or various rods or pollen. In this context, allergic diseases of the bronchi are also of enormous importance. These diseases are increasing in proportion to increasing air pollution.

People suffer from chronic inflammation of the bronchi, bronchial asthma , when there is permanent contraction of the muscle fibers in the bronchi. This disease is also accompanied by shortness of breath and heavy expectoration of mucus . Another disease that also affects the bronchi is the unpleasant and sometimes tormenting dry cough . The dry cough can occur in two forms, the dry and the wet dry cough, and represents a protective reaction of the bronchi.

A chronic dry cough can lead to chronic bronchitis manifesting itself. If the bronchi are permanently inflamed, it is possible that pneumonia will develop as the disease progresses. Under these aspects, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is of great importance. This shows that pathological processes in the bronchi can lead to further secondary diseases of this vital organ.

The colloquial term lung cancer ultimately refers to a form of cancer that affects the bronchi.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.