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Difference Between Villi and Alveoli | Villi vs Alveoli


The key difference between villi and alveoli is that villi are the finger-like projections present on the inner lining of the small intestine and facilitate nutrient absorption while alveoli are the tiny sac-like structures present in the lung that facilitate rapid exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Villi and alveoli are two important structures present in our body. Villi are present in the inner lining of the small intestine while alveoli are present at the end of the respiratory tree. In fact, villi are the basic units of nutrient absorption of the gastrointestinal tract while alveoli are the basic units of the ventilation of the respiratory tract. Both structures have a higher surface area in order to carry out their respective functions rapidly and efficiently. The purpose of this article is to discuss the difference between villi and alveoli in detail.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Villi
3. What are Alveoli 
4. Similarities Between Villi and Alveoli
5. Side by Side Comparison – Villi vs Alveoli in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What are Villi?

Villi are tiny finger-like structures present in the inner lining of the small intestine. They extend to the small intestine lumen and facilitate the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. Villi have many microvilli projecting from the epithelium.