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Anatomy of the lymphatic system

The left panel shows a female human body, and the entire lymphatic system is shown. The right panel shows magnified images of the thymus and the lymph node. All the major parts in the lymphatic system are labeled.
Lymphatic vessels in the arms and legs convey lymph to the larger lymphatic vessels in the torso.

A major distinction between the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems in humans is that lymph is not actively pumped by the heart, but is forced through the vessels by the movements of the body, the contraction of skeletal muscles during body movements, and breathing. One-way valves (semi-lunar valves) in lymphatic vessels keep the lymph moving toward the heart. Lymph flows from the lymphatic capillaries, through lymphatic vessels, and then is dumped into the circulatory system via the lymphatic ducts located at the junction of the jugular and subclavian veins in the neck.

Lymphatic capillaries

Lymphatic capillaries , also called the terminal lymphatics, are vessels where interstitial fluid enters the lymphatic system to become lymph fluid. Located in almost every tissue in the body, these vessels are interlaced among the arterioles and venules of the circulatory system in the soft connective tissues of the body ( [link] ). Exceptions are the central nervous system, bone marrow, bones, teeth, and the cornea of the eye, which do not contain lymph vessels.

Lymphatic capillaries

This image shows the lymph capillaries in the tissue spaces, and a magnified image shows the interstitial fluid and the lymph vessels. The major parts are labeled.
Lymphatic capillaries are interlaced with the arterioles and venules of the cardiovascular system. Collagen fibers anchor a lymphatic capillary in the tissue (inset). Interstitial fluid slips through spaces between the overlapping endothelial cells that compose the lymphatic capillary.

Lymphatic capillaries are formed by a one cell-thick layer of endothelial cells and represent the open end of the system, allowing interstitial fluid to flow into them via overlapping cells (see [link] ). When interstitial pressure is low, the endothelial flaps close to prevent “backflow.” As interstitial pressure increases, the spaces between the cells open up, allowing the fluid to enter. Entry of fluid into lymphatic capillaries is also enabled by the collagen filaments that anchor the capillaries to surrounding structures. As interstitial pressure increases, the filaments pull on the endothelial cell flaps, opening up them even further to allow easy entry of fluid.

In the small intestine, lymphatic capillaries called lacteals are critical for the transport of dietary lipids and lipid-soluble vitamins to the bloodstream. In the small intestine, dietary triglycerides combine with other lipids and proteins, and enter the lacteals to form a milky fluid called chyle    . The chyle then travels through the lymphatic system, eventually entering the liver and then the bloodstream.

Larger lymphatic vessels, trunks, and ducts

The lymphatic capillaries empty into larger lymphatic vessels, which are similar to veins in terms of their three-tunic structure and the presence of valves. These one-way valves are located fairly close to one another, and each one causes a bulge in the lymphatic vessel, giving the vessels a beaded appearance (see [link] ).

The superficial and deep lymphatics eventually merge to form larger lymphatic vessels known as lymphatic trunks    . On the right side of the body, the right sides of the head, thorax, and right upper limb drain lymph fluid into the right subclavian vein via the right lymphatic duct ( [link] ). On the left side of the body, the remaining portions of the body drain into the larger thoracic duct, which drains into the left subclavian vein. The thoracic duct itself begins just beneath the diaphragm in the cisterna chyli    , a sac-like chamber that receives lymph from the lower abdomen, pelvis, and lower limbs by way of the left and right lumbar trunks and the intestinal trunk.

Questions & Answers

compare and contrast the operation of homeostasis
Dinelle Reply
what is the difference between an ionic, polar covalent and nonpolar covalent bond?
Dinelle
the definition of distal
Dinelle Reply
farthest away from the attachment point.
felix
exercise physiologist how ?
Noor Reply
can I get the questions of human physiology that is present in HSC 2nd semester
Rafiullah Reply
how can I memorize
mukhtaar Reply
which part of the body produces blood
aadil
give me answer
aadil
Red blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow ofbones. Stem cells in the red bone marrow called hemocytoblasts give rise to all of the formed element
mukhtaar
what is hemocytoblasts
Fatima
hemocytoblasts are stem cells in red bone marrow which give rise the all of formed elements
Khawaja
Discuss clonal theory in physiology and its application in measles infection in a 6yr child? Can anyone help me
Isaac Reply
Capillary permeability
what do you want to know about it?
Ramsin
Hello, I want to search about the topic, information and pictures
syncitium is the property of which of the following muscle
Shahab Reply
can I get the questions of human physiology that is present in HSC 2nd semester
Sai Reply
i now madam
irpa
ha can u please send me the PDF of questions
Sai
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Sai
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Ramsin
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mukhtaar
I want too
Nazirullah
If a molecule can only pass through a membrane with the assistance of a membrane protein, but the direction of its travel is controlled only by its concentration, the process is called?
osmosis
chozen
A 52 year old woman turned her head quickly, during a tennis game and suddenly felt a sharp pain in her neck along her upper limb. Physical examination and medical imaging revealed a herniated degenerated IV disc in the cervical region of her vertebral column.
Isaac
a. What probably caused the IV disc herniation? b. What cause IV disc degeneration? c. What are the result of disc degeneration?
Isaac
b
Mirasol
Describe the neural control of erection and ejaculation.
Nana Reply
A 52 year old woman turned her head quickly, during a tennis game and suddenly felt a sharp pain in her neck along her upper limb. Physical examination and medical imaging revealed a herniated degenerated IV disc in the cervical region of her vertebral column. a)What probably caused the IV di
Isaac
a) What probably caused the IV disc herniation? b) What cause IV disc degeneration? c) What are the result of disc degeneration?
Isaac
iv disc herniation compress the nerve cause numbness tingling sensation even paralysis in severe cases...
Khawaja
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DANIELLA Reply
yes
Ramzan
function of skeleton
Josiah Reply
- for movement - blood production by the bone marrow
Daniel
production of calsium and phosphorus
Juma
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac
what is heart
Subhajit Reply
it is the tissue..which pump blood to the all parts of body
GRAY
the heart is a conical , hollow, muscular organ which works continuously through out the life of a person ,it is about the size of a clenched fist and weighs about 300 grams and also the heart is in the chest just behind the breast bone and between the two lungs
Mary
a hollow muscular organ that pumps blood through the circulatory system by regular contractions
Johnny
is a muscular organ that pumps blood lungs and other body tissues through vessels
Nolosha
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac Reply
inguinal fossa femoral vein?
Jeen
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Arif

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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