In multicellular organisms, the lymphatic system plays a critical role. The lymphatic system consists of many parts which carry out the different functions of the body. Example: To drain the lymph fluid from tissues.
Let us take an overview of lymph, its composition, and functions.
In animals and human beings, extracellular fluid is present in the tissue cells which comprises of all the body fluids outside of the cells. This extracellular fluid is divided into interstitial fluid and plasma. Interstitial fluid may be defined as a solution which surrounds the tissue cells in the body. It consists of small water-soluble substances which are flow in between the tissue cells. Both plasma and Interstitial fluid are same due to the continuous exchange of small solutes, water and ions across the capillary walls of the tissues.
The functions of Interstitial fluid are as follows:
- It is used to transport nutrients to the cells.
- It is used to provide intercellular communication between the cells
- It is used to remove the metabolic wastes from the cells.
The interstitial fluid is collected by the lymphatic system and the rest is drained. The drained fluid moves back to the major vein and the remaining fluid which is collected through the lymph capillaries is called as lymph. It may be defined as a fluid which circulates all the way through the lymphatic system. It is collected by the lymph capillaries is then moved to the lymph nodes through the lymph vessels. It is a clear and colorless fluid.
Composition of the lymph
Lymph consists of the following components:
- Water – 94%
- Proteins – Albumin, globulin, and fibrinogen
- Very low amount of fat
- Nonprotein nitrogenous substance
Functions of the lymph
The functions of the lymph are as follows:
- It is used to supply nutrients to the body.
- It is used to remove the metabolic wastes from the tissue cells.
- It is used to maintain the composition of tissue fluid.
- It is used to absorb the fats from the small intestine through lymphatic vessels.
- It is used to act against the pathogenic infections of microbes.
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