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September 22, 1934


JAMA. 1934;103(12):920-921. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750380040014

The capillaries have generally been regarded as minute, inert, thin-walled tubules connecting the terminations of the smallest arteries with the commencement of the smallest veins and conducting blood through the body tissues in whatever quantity the arterioles might supply. During the past few years, however, a large amount of evidence has accumulated demonstrating conclusively that the capillaries perform other functions. Indeed, a recent commentator1 has stated that the capillaries form one of the most important units of the entire circulatory system. Modern studies have shown that the capillaries are independently contractile and are capable of sensitive adjustment to the circulatory needs of the body tissues which they supply.2 Also they perform the vital function of controlling the interchange of substances between the blood and the fluid bathing the body tissues. The importance of the capillaries as a filtering system is in part the result of the large total

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