Anatomy: Lymphatic System

Nutrition-filled lymph drains from blood into the body tissues, into lymphatic tissues, then into the lymphatic system where it is filtered and returned to the bloodstream. It also plays a major role in the immune system, filtering out disease-causing organisms, producing specialized white blood cells and antibodies. Although joined to the cardiovascular system by a capillary system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump like the heart; this system relies on movement of the body to circulate fully.

Parts Involved

  • Bone marrow – produces lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes mature here
  • Thymus – T-lymphocytes mature here
  • Lymph nodes – filtering, diagnosis and treatment glands (100+)
  • Lymph vessels – everywhere that blood vessels exist, but off the pump
  • Spleen – (accessory lymphatic organ)
  • Tonsils – (accessory lymphatic organ)
  • Appendix – (accessory lymphatic organ)

Functions

  • Carries nutrition, water and oxygen to individual tissue cells
  • Carries out tissue cell waste and enters it into the nodes and organs for filtering
  • Filters lymph for foreign and unusable particles
  • Houses various immune cells that clean, diagnose and attack
  • Absorbs fats from the intestines

Lymphatic Fun Facts

Lymph nodes are most plentiful in the neck, armpits and the groin.

Chemicals in the eyes, stomach and mouth fluids fight infections.

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