What is the anatomy of the abdominal aorta?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Saum A Rahimi, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
  • Print

The abdominal aorta has three distinct tissue layers: intima, media, and adventitia. The intima is composed of the classic endothelial layer. The media comprises smooth muscle cells surrounded by elastin, collagen, and proteoglycans; to a great extent, this layer is responsible for the structural and elastic properties of the artery. The adventitia consists primarily of collagen but also contains a variety of cells (including fibroblasts and immunomodulatory cells), as well as adrenergic nerves.

The diameter of the aorta decreases from its thoracic portion to its abdominal and infrarenal portions. A normal aorta shows a reduction in medial elastin layers from the thoracic portion to the abdominal portion. Elastin content and collagen content are also reduced.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!