Reference > Anatomy of the Human Body > Page 502
Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
fibers, and is covered on both surfaces with endothelium, the arrangement of which differs on the two surfaces. On the surface of the valve next the wall of the vein the cells are arranged transversely; while on the other surface, over which the current of blood flows, the cells are arranged longitudinally in the direction of the current. Most commonly two such valves are found placed opposite one another, more especially in the smaller veins or in the larger trunks at the point where they are joined by smaller branches; occasionally there are three and sometimes only one. The valves are semilunar. They are attached by their convex edges to the wall of the vein; the concave margins are free, directed in the course of the venous current, and lie in close apposition with the wall of the vein as long as the current of blood takes its natural course; if, however, any regurgitation takes place, the valves become distended, their opposed edges are brought into contact, and the current is interrupted. The wall of the vein on the cardiac side of the point of attachment of each valve is expanded into a pouch or sinus, which gives to the vessel, when injected or distended with blood, a knotted appearance. The valves are very numerous in the veins of the extremities, especially of the lower extremities, these vessels having to conduct the blood against the force of gravity. They are absent in the very small veins, i. e., those less than 2 mm. in diameter, also in the venæ cavæ, hepatic, renal, uterine, and ovarian veins. A few valves are found in each spermatic vein, and one also at its point of junction with the renal vein or inferior vena cava respectively. The cerebral and spinal veins, the veins of the cancellated tissue of bone, the pulmonary veins, and the umbilical vein and its branches, are also destitute of valves. A few valves are occasionally found in the azygos and intercostal veins. Rudimentary valves are found in the tributaries of the portal venous system.

FIG. 452– Section of a medium-sized vein. (See enlarged image)

  The veins, like the arteries, are supplied with nutrient vessels, vasa vasorum. Nerves also are distributed to them in the same manner as to the arteries, but in much less abundance.
2. The Blood
  The blood is an opaque, rather viscid fluid, of a bright red or scarlet color when it flows from the arteries, of a dark red or purple color when it flows from the veins. It is salt to the taste, and has a peculiar faint odor and an alkaline reaction. Its specific gravity is about 1.06, and its temperature is generally about 37° C., though varying slightly in different parts of the body.


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