Lymphatic System: Structure and Function

Lymphatic System: Structure and Function

Author: Aaron Mullally

This lesson will identify the major structures and will discuss the function of the lymphatic system.

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Lymphatic System Overview

Video Images: Lymphatic System image, Public Domain: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lymphatic_system.png; Lymph Node image, Public Domain: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Schematic_of_lymph_node_showing_lymph_sinuses.svg&page=1; Anatomical Location image, Public Domain: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Gray1226.png; Spleen image, Public Domain: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illu_spleen.jpg; Thymus image, Public Domain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Illu_thymus.jpg; Human Thymus image, Public Domain: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thymus_az.jpg

  • Lymphatic System

    A system of vessels, nodes, glands, and lymph nodules that serves two major bodily functions: completing the fluid cycle by returning excess tissue fluid into the blood and producing, maturing and storing cells of the immune system.

  • Lymph

    A clear colorless fluid similar to plasma that circulates throughout lymphatic vessels on its way to the blood stream; lymph contains far less protein than plasma.

  • Lymph Vascular System

    A system of lymphatic vessels that are used to circulate lymph back into the blood stream; lymphatic vessels circulate lymph through lymph nodes to be filtered before entering the blood stream.

  • Lymph Node

    A bean-shaped organ of the lymphatic system that ranges in size from microscopic to the size of a kidney bean. Lymph nodes contain dense populations of white blood cells, especially lymphoctyes, and filter lymph as if flows through the node.

  • Spleen

    The largest lymphatic organ that acts like a lymph node by filtering blood as it flows through it. The spleen is located in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen. The spleen internally contains white and red pulp and is often called a blood reservoir.

  • Thymus

    A gland located in the mediastinum (cavity between the lungs) just above the heart that matures T cells, not produces them.