Lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system, comprising a network of conduits called lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph (from Latin lympha "water goddess"[1]) unidirectionally towards the heart. The lymphatic system was first described in the seventeenth century independently by Olaus Rudbeck and Thomas Bartholin. The lymph system is not a closed system. The circulatory system processes an average of 20 liters of blood per day through capillary filtration which removes plasma while leaving the blood cells. Roughly 17 liters of the filtered plasma actually get reabsorbed directly into the blood vessels, while the remaining 3 liters are left behind in the interstitial fluid. The primary function of the lymph system is to provide an accessory route for these excess 3 liters per day to get returned to the blood.[2] Lymph is essentially recycled blood plasma. Lymphatic organs play an important part in the immune system, having a considerable overlap with the lymphoid system. Lymphoid tissue is found in many organs, particularly the lymph nodes, and in the lymphoid follicles associated with the digestive system such as the tonsils. Lymphoid tissues contain lymphocytes, but they also contain other types of cells for support.[3] The system also includes all the structures dedicated to the circu

ation and production of lymphocytes (the primary cellular component of lymph), which includes the spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and the lymphoid tissue associated with the digestive system.[4] The blood does not directly come in contact with the parenchymal cells and tissues in the body, but constituents of the blood first exit the microvascular exchange blood vessels to become interstitial fluid, which comes into contact with the parenchymal cells of the body. Lymph is the fluid that is formed when interstitial fluid enters the initial lymphatic vessels of the lymphatic system. The lymph is then moved along the lymphatic vessel network by either intrinsic contractions of the lymphatic passages or by extrinsic compression of the lymphatic vessels via external tissue forces (e.g. the contractions of skeletal muscles). The organization of lymph nodes and drainage follows the organization of the body into external and internal regions; therefore, the lymphatic drainage of the head, limbs, and body cavity walls follows an external route, and the lymphatic drainage of the thorax, abdomen, and pelvic cavities follows an internal route.[5] Eventually, the lymph vessels empty into the lymphatic ducts, which drain into one of the two subclavian veins (near the junctions of the subclavian veins with the internal jugular veins).