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elastic fibre

any of the yellowish branching fibres composed primarily of the protein elastin, frequently arranged in plates or perforated membranes, as in the walls of the large arteries. Unlike collagenous fibres, they show no orderly fibrous subunits under microscopic examination but sometimes appear to be composed of minute fibrils around a solid core. Elastic fibres are not broken down by hot water, as are collagenous fibres; and they are resistant to most enzymes. As is suggested by their name, the fibres are highly elastic and impart elasticity to structures such as the skin, the lungs, and some large blood vessels, such as the aorta.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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