Lymph is a clear to pale-white fluid which circulates throughout the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system’s main role is to act as a filter against microbes, organic wastes and other debris.
The lymphatic system consists of numerous lymph nodes deep inside the body. These lymph nodes are connected to lymphatic vessels which circulate the lymph throughout the body. The lymph gets filtered at the lymph nodes. The spleen, tonsils, adenoids and the thymus all forms a part of the lymphatic system. The spleen is considered as the largest lymphatic organ in the system. It is located just above the kidney on the left side of the body.
Lymph consists of the following components:
- Water – 94%
- Very low amount of fat
- Proteins – Albumin, globulin, and fibrinogen
- Non protein nitrogenous substances.
Lymph performs many important functions such as:
- Supplying nutrients to the body.
- Removal of metabolic wastes from the tissue cells.
- Maintaining composition of tissue fluid.
- Absorption of fats from the small intestine through lymphatic vessels.
- Preventing pathogenic infections of microbes.
In animals and human beings, extracellular fluid (fluid outside the cell) is divided into interstitial fluid(fluid which exists between the tissues) and plasma. It consists of small water-soluble substances which flows 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 enables intercellular communication between the cells.
- It removes 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 known as lymph.
Functions of the lymph node
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