Anatomy And Function Of The Lymph System

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels throughout the body. It is part of the body's immune system and is involved in the removal of foreign matter and cell debris. Lymph vessels are usually associated with the circulatory system, and lymph originates from lost blood plasma or interstitial fluid from the capillary beds. The lymph system serves to filter and return this fluid to the circulatory system.

The lymph organs are divided into primary and secondary organs. The bone marrow and the thymus belong to the primary organ category and the spleen, lymph nodes and secondary lymphoid tissues, such as the tonsils and the appendix, are known as the secondary lymph organs.

Lymphocytes are produced by stem cells in the bone marrow and either mature in the bone marrow (B lymphocytes) or the thymus (T lymphocytes). Both B and T lymphocytes circulate in the lymph and accumulate in the secondary lymph organs, waiting to encounter antigens such as micro-organisms.

The lymph nodes and organs function to filter and process other organisms or abnormal cells from the body. They are present in clusters in the armpits, on either side of the neck, in the chest, in the abdomen and in the groin. Lymph nodes have an internal honeycomb-like structure of connective tissue that is filled with lymphocytes. In the presence of infection the lymphocytes rapidly multiply, producing characteristic swelling and tenderness.

For the purposes of genital and pubic examination the inguinal lymph nodes should be gently palpated and any tenderness or swelling should be noted. Infective processes may lead to lymph-node enlargement; however, malignancy should also be considered if there is no other explanation for enlarged lymph nodes.

0 0

Post a comment