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The lymphatic system, or lymphoid system, is an
organ system An organ system is a biological system A biological system is a complex network Network and networking may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Network'' (1976 film), a 1976 American film * ''Network'' (2019 film), an Indian film * ...
in vertebrates that is part of the
circulatory system The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system An organ system is a biological system A biological system is a complex network Network and networking may refer to: Arts, entertai ...
and the
immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism from diseases. It detects and responds to a wide variety of pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, as well as Tumor immunology, cancer cells and objects such ...
. It is made up of a large network of lymph,
lymphatic vessel The lymphatic vessels (or lymph vessels or lymphatics) are thin-walled vessels (tubes) structured like blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the human body. These vessels t ...
s, lymph nodes, lymphatic or lymphoid organs, and lymphoid tissues. The vessels carry a clear fluid called
lymph Lymph (from Latin, ''lympha'' meaning "water") is the fluid that flows through the lymphatic system The lymphatic system, or lymphoid system, is an organ system in vertebrates that is part of the circulatory system and the immune system. It is ...
(the Latin word ''lympha'' refers to the deity of fresh water, "
Lympha The Lympha (plural ''Lymphae'') is an of fresh water. She is one of listed by as "leaders" (''duces'') of , because "without water all agriculture is dry and poor." The Lymphae are often connected to , meaning "Source" or "Font," a god of and . ...
") towards the
heart The heart is a muscular MUSCULAR (DS-200B), located in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use ...

heart
. Unlike the
cardiovascular system The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system that permits blood to circulate and transport nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones, and bloo ...
, the lymphatic system is not a
closed system A closed system is a physical system A physical system is a collection of physical objects. In physics, it is a portion of the physical universe chosen for analysis. Everything outside the system is known as the environment (systems), environm ...
. The human circulatory system processes an average of 20 litres of
blood Blood is a body fluid Body fluids, bodily fluids, or biofluids are liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers t ...

blood
per day through
capillary filtration The Starling equation describes the net flow of fluid across a semipermeable membrane Semipermeable membrane is a type of biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Lat ...
, which removes
plasma Plasma or plasm may refer to: Science * Plasma (physics), one of the four fundamental states of matter * Plasma (mineral) or heliotrope, a mineral aggregate * Quark–gluon plasma, a state of matter in quantum chromodynamics Biology * Blood plasma ...
from the
blood Blood is a body fluid Body fluids, bodily fluids, or biofluids are liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers t ...

blood
. Roughly 17 litres of the filtered blood is reabsorbed directly into the
blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system An organ system is a biological system A biological system is a comp ...
s, while the remaining three litres are left in the
interstitial fluid In cell biology Cell biology (also cellular biology or cytology) is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, ...
. One of the main functions of the lymphatic system is to provide an accessory return route to the blood for the surplus three litres. The other main function is that of immune defense. Lymph is very similar to blood plasma, in that it contains waste products and cellular debris, together with
bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are ubiquitous, mostly free-living organisms often consisting of one Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a large domain (biology), domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typ ...

bacteria
and
protein Proteins are large biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a No ...

protein
s. The cells of the lymph are mostly
lymphocyte A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell in the immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'' ...

lymphocyte
s. Associated lymphoid organs are composed of lymphoid tissue, and are the sites either of lymphocyte production or of lymphocyte activation. These include the
lymph node A lymph node, or lymph gland, is a kidney The kidneys are two reddish-brown bean-shaped organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A giv ...

lymph node
s (where the highest lymphocyte concentration is found), the
spleen The spleen is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's ...

spleen
, the
thymus The thymus is a specialized primary Lymphatic system#Structure, lymphoid organ of the immune system. Within the thymus, T cell, thymus cell lymphocytes or ''T cells'' mature. T cells are critical to the adaptive immune system, where the body ad ...

thymus
, and the
tonsil The tonsils are a set of lymphoid organs facing into the aerodigestive tract {{Short pages monitor
interstitial fluid In cell biology Cell biology (also cellular biology or cytology) is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, ...
from tissues * It absorbs and transports
fatty acid In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
s and
fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and biology, biochemistry may be divided ...

fat
s as
chyle Chyle (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
from the digestive system * It transports
white blood cells White blood cells, also called leukocytes or leucocytes, are the cell (biology), cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. All white blood cells are produced and de ...
to and from the lymph nodes into the bones * The lymph transports
antigen-presenting cell An antigen-presenting cell (APC) or accessory cell is a cell that displays antigen In immunology, an antigen (Ag) is a molecule or molecular structure, such as may be present on the outside of a pathogen, that can be bound by an antigen-speci ...
s, such as
dendritic cells Dendritic cells (DCs) are antigen-presenting cell An antigen-presenting cell (APC) or accessory cell is a cell that displays antigen In immunology, an antigen (Ag) is a molecule or molecular structure, such as may be present on the outside ...

dendritic cells
, to the lymph nodes where an immune response is stimulated.


Fat absorption

Lymph vessel The lymphatic vessels (or lymph vessels or lymphatics) are thin-walled vessels (tubes) structured like blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular s ...

Lymph vessel
s called
lacteal A lacteal is a lymphatic capillary that absorbs dietary fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discip ...
s are at the beginning of the
gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract, digestive tract, alimentary canal) is the tract or passageway of the digestive system The human digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract, (GI tract, GIT, d ...
, predominantly in the small intestine. While most other nutrients absorbed by the
small intestine The small intestine or small bowel is an organ (anatomy), organ in the human gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal tract where most of the #Absorption, absorption of nutrients from food takes place. It lies between the stomach and large intes ...

small intestine
are passed on to the
portal venous system In the circulatory system The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system An organ system is a biological system A biological system is a complex network Network and networkin ...

portal venous system
to drain via the
portal vein The portal vein or hepatic portal vein (HPV) is a blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system that ...
into the
liver The liver is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's t ...

liver
for processing, fats (
lipids In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanis ...

lipids
) are passed on to the lymphatic system to be transported to the blood circulation via the
thoracic duct In human anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science which deals with the structural organization o ...
. (There are exceptions, for example medium-chain triglycerides are fatty acid esters of glycerol that passively diffuse from the GI tract to the portal system.) The enriched lymph originating in the lymphatics of the
small intestine The small intestine or small bowel is an organ (anatomy), organ in the human gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal tract where most of the #Absorption, absorption of nutrients from food takes place. It lies between the stomach and large intes ...

small intestine
is called
chyle Chyle (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
. The nutrients that are released into the circulatory system are processed by the
liver The liver is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's t ...

liver
, having passed through the systemic circulation.


Immune function

The lymphatic system plays a major role in the body's immune system, as the primary site for cells relating to
adaptive immune system The adaptive immune system, also referred as the acquired immune system, is a subsystem of the immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, ...
including
T-cell A T cell is a type of lymphocyte A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell in the immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ...
s and
B-cells #REDIRECT B cell 3D rendering of a B cell B cells, also known as B lymphocytes, are a type of white blood cell White blood cells (WBCs), also called leukocytes or leucocytes, are the cells of the immune system The immune system is a ne ...
. Cells in the lymphatic system react to or found by the cells directly or by other
dendritic cells Dendritic cells (DCs) are antigen-presenting cell An antigen-presenting cell (APC) or accessory cell is a cell that displays antigen In immunology, an antigen (Ag) is a molecule or molecular structure, such as may be present on the outside ...

dendritic cells
. When an antigen is recognized, an immunological cascade begins involving the activation and recruitment of more and more cells, the production of
antibodies An antibody (Ab), also known as an immunoglobulin (Ig), is a large, Y-shaped protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as pathogenic bacteria and Viral disease, viruses. The antibody recognizes a unique mo ...

antibodies
and
cytokines Cytokines are a broad and loose category of small protein Proteins are large biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and ...
and the recruitment of other immunological cells such as
macrophages Macrophages (abbreviated as Mφ, MΦ or MP) ( el, large eaters, from Greek ''μακρός'' (') = large, ''φαγεῖν'' (') = to eat) are a type of white blood cell White blood cells (WBCs), also called leukocytes or leucocytes, are the ...
.


Clinical significance

The study of lymphatic drainage of various organs is important in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of cancer. The lymphatic system, because of its closeness to many tissues of the body, is responsible for carrying cancerous cells between the various parts of the body in a process called
metastasis Metastasis is a pathogenic agent's spread from an initial or primary site to a different or secondary site within the host's body; the term is typically used when referring to metastasis by a cancerous tumor. The newly pathological sites, then, ...
. The intervening lymph nodes can trap the cancer cells. If they are not successful in destroying the cancer cells the nodes may become sites of secondary tumours.


Enlarged lymph nodes

Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy or adenopathy is a disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system ...
refers to one or more enlarged lymph nodes. Small groups or individually enlarged lymph nodes are generally ''reactive'' in response to
infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host A host is a person responsible for guests at an event or for providing hospitality during it. Host may ...

infection
or
inflammation Inflammation (from la, inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogen In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anato ...
. This is called ''local'' lymphadenopathy. When many lymph nodes in different areas of the body are involved, this is called ''generalised'' lymphadenopathy. Generalised lymphadenopathy may be caused by
infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host A host is a person responsible for guests at an event or for providing hospitality during it. Host may ...

infection
s such as
infectious mononucleosis Infectious mononucleosis (IM, mono), also known as glandular fever, is an infection usually caused by the Epstein–Barr virus The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), formally called ''Human gammaherpesvirus 4'', is one of the nine known human herpe ...
,
tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), host tissues to the in ...

tuberculosis
and
HIV The human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) are two species of ''Lentivirus ''Lentivirus'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, inc ...

HIV
,
connective tissue disease A connective tissue disease (collagenosis) is any disease that has the connective tissue Connective tissue is one of the many basic types of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organ ...
s such as SLE and
rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term autoimmune disorder that primarily affects synovial joint, joints. It typically results in warm, swollen, and painful joints. Pain and stiffness often worsen following rest. Most commonly, the wrist and ...
, and
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumor A benign tumor is a mass of cells Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biolo ...

cancer
s, including both cancers of tissue within lymph nodes, discussed below, and
metastasis Metastasis is a pathogenic agent's spread from an initial or primary site to a different or secondary site within the host's body; the term is typically used when referring to metastasis by a cancerous tumor. The newly pathological sites, then, ...
of cancerous cells from other parts of the body, that have arrived via the lymphatic system.


Lymphedema

Lymphedema Lymphedema, also known as lymphoedema and lymphatic edema, is a condition of localized swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system The lymphatic system, or lymphoid system, is an in vertebrates that is part of the and the . It is made ...

Lymphedema
is the caused by the accumulation of lymph, which may occur if the lymphatic system is damaged or has malformations. It usually affects limbs, though the face, neck and abdomen may also be affected. In an extreme state, called
elephantiasis Elephantiasis is the enlargement and hardening of limbs or body parts due to tissue swelling. It is characterised by edema Edema, also spelt oedema, and also known as fluid retention, dropsy, hydropsy and swelling, is the build-up of fluid in the ...

elephantiasis
, the edema progresses to the extent that the skin becomes thick with an appearance similar to the skin on
elephant Elephants are the largest existing land animals. Three living species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A specie ...

elephant
limbs. Causes are unknown in most cases, but sometimes there is a previous history of severe infection, usually caused by a
parasitic disease A parasitic disease, also known as parasitosis, is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host A host is a person responsible ...
, such as
lymphatic filariasis Lymphatic filariasis is a human disease caused by parasitic worms Parasitic worms, also known as helminths, are large macroparasites; adults can generally be seen with the naked eye. Many are intestinal worms that are soil-transmitted helmint ...
. Lymphangiomatosis is a disease involving multiple cysts or lesions formed from lymphatic vessels. Lymphedema can also occur after surgical removal of lymph nodes in the armpit (causing the arm to swell due to poor lymphatic drainage) or groin (causing swelling of the leg). Conventional treatment is by
manual lymphatic drainageManual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a type of massage Massage is the manipulation of the body's soft tissues. Massage techniques are commonly applied with hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearms, feet, or a device. The purpose of massage is general ...
and
compression garment Compression garments are pieces of clothing that fit tightly around the skin. In medical contexts, compression garments provide support for people who have to stand for long periods or have poor circulation Circulation may refer to: Science a ...
s. Two drugs for the treatment of lymphedema are in clinical trials: Lymfactin and /. There is no evidence to suggest that the effects of manual lymphatic drainage are permanent.


Cancer

Cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumor A benign tumor is a mass of cells Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biolo ...

Cancer
of the lymphatic system can be primary or secondary.
Lymphoma Lymphoma is a group of blood cancer, blood malignancies that develop from lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). The name often refers to just the cancerous versions rather than all such tumours. Signs and symptoms may include Lymphadenopathy, ...

Lymphoma
refers to cancer that arises from
lymphatic tissue The lymphatic system, or lymphoid system, is an organ system An organ system is a biological system A biological system is a complex biological network, network which connects several biologically relevant entities. Biological organization ...
. Lymphoid leukaemias and lymphomas are now considered to be tumours of the same type of cell lineage. They are called "leukaemia" when in the blood or marrow and "lymphoma" when in lymphatic tissue. They are grouped together under the name "lymphoid malignancy". Lymphoma is generally considered as either
Hodgkin lymphoma Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a type of lymphoma Lymphoma is a group of blood cancer, blood malignancies that develop from lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). The name often refers to just the cancerous versions rather than all such tumours. Si ...
or
non-Hodgkin lymphoma Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a group of blood cancers that includes all types of lymphoma Lymphoma is a group of blood malignancies that develop from lymphocyte A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell in the immune system The imm ...
. Hodgkin lymphoma is characterised by a particular type of cell, called a
Reed–Sternberg cell Reed–Sternberg cells (also known as lacunar histiocytes for certain types) are distinctive, giant cell . A giant cell (multinucleated giant cell, multinucleate giant cell) is a mass formed by the union of several distinct Cell (biology), cells ...
, visible under microscope. It is associated with past infection with the
Epstein–Barr virus The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), formally called ''Human gammaherpesvirus 4'', is one of the nine known human herpesvirus types in the herpes family, and is one of the most common virus A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that ...
, and generally causes a painless "rubbery" lymphadenopathy. It is
staged ''Staged'' is a British television comedy series, set during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom and primarily filmed using video-conferencing technology. The first series premiered on 10 June 2020 on BBC One, and the second series prem ...
, using
Ann Arbor stagingAnn Arbor staging is the Cancer staging, staging system for lymphomas, both in Hodgkin's lymphoma (formerly designated Hodgkin's disease) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (abbreviated NHL). It was initially developed for Hodgkin's, but has some use in NHL. I ...
.
Chemotherapy Chemotherapy (often abbreviated to chemo and sometimes CTX or CTx) is a type of cancer treatment Cancer Cancer is a group of diseases A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or f ...

Chemotherapy
generally involves the
ABVD ABVD is a chemotherapy regimenA chemotherapy regimen is a regimen for chemotherapy Chemotherapy (often abbreviated to chemo and sometimes CTX or CTx) is a type of cancer treatment that uses one or more anti-cancer drugs ( chemotherapeutic age ...
and may also involve
radiotherapy Radiation therapy or radiotherapy, often abbreviated RT, RTx, or XRT, is a therapy using ionizing radiation Ionizing radiation (or ionising radiation), including nuclear radiation, consists of s or s that have sufficient to s or s by detachi ...
. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer characterised by increased proliferation of
B-cell #REDIRECT B cell #REDIRECT B cell 3D rendering of a B cell B cells, also known as B lymphocytes, are a type of white blood cell White blood cells (WBCs), also called leukocytes or leucocytes, are the cells of the immune system The immu ...

B-cell
s or
T-cells A T cell is a type of lymphocyte A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell in the immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ...
, generally occurs in an older age group than Hodgkin lymphoma. It is treated according to whether it is ''
high-grade Grade or grading may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Grade (band), punk rock band * Grades (producer), British electronic dance music producer and DJ Education * Grading (education), a teacher's evaluation of a student's performance in class * ...
'' or ''low-grade'', and carries a poorer prognosis than Hodgkin lymphoma.
Lymphangiosarcoma Lymphangiosarcoma is a rare cancer which occurs in long-standing cases of primary or secondary lymphedema. It involves either the upper or lower lymphedematous extremities but is most common in upper extremities. Although its name implies lymphatic ...
is a malignant , whereas
lymphangioma Lymphangiomas are malformations of the lymphatic system characterized by lesions that are thin-walled cysts; these cysts can be macroscopic, as in a cystic hygroma, or microscopic. The lymphatic system is the network of vessels responsible for ...

lymphangioma
is a benign tumour occurring frequently in association with
Turner syndrome Turner syndrome (TS), also known as 45,X, or 45,X0, is a genetic condition A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome. It can be caused by a mutation in a single gene In biology, a gene ...
.
Lymphangioleiomyomatosis Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare, progressive and systemic disease that typically results in cystic lung A focal lung pneumatosis is a pocket of air (pneumatosis) in the Parenchyma#Lungs, parenchyma of the lungs, larger than the pulmonary ...

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis
is a benign tumour of the smooth muscles of the lymphatics that occurs in the lungs. Lymphoid leukaemia is another form of cancer where the host is devoid of different lymphatic cells.


Other

* Castleman's disease *
Chylothorax A chylothorax is an abnormal accumulation of chyle, a type of lipid-rich lymph, in the pleural space, space surrounding the lung. The lymphatics of the digestive system normally returns lipids absorbed from the small bowel via the thoracic duct, ...

Chylothorax
*
Kawasaki disease Kawasaki disease is a syndrome A syndrome is a set of medical signs and symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for example may be a higher or l ...
* Kikuchi disease *
Lipedema Lipedema is a condition that is almost exclusively found in women and results in enlargement of both legs due to deposits of fat under the skin. Women of any weight may develop lipedema and the fat associated with lipedema is resistant to traditi ...
*
Lymphangitis :''For discussion of the condition in horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated odd-toed ungulate mammal. It belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae and is one of two Extant taxon, extant subspecies of wild horse, ''Equus fe ...
*
Lymphatic filariasis Lymphatic filariasis is a human disease caused by parasitic worms Parasitic worms, also known as helminths, are large macroparasites; adults can generally be seen with the naked eye. Many are intestinal worms that are soil-transmitted helmint ...
*
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is a rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known a ...
* Solitary lymphatic nodule


History

Hippocrates Hippocrates of Kos (; grc-gre, Ἱπποκράτης ὁ Κῷος, Hippokrátēs ho Kôios; ), also known as Hippocrates II, was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ε ...

Hippocrates
, in the 5th century BC, was one of the first people to mention the lymphatic system. In his work ''On Joints'', he briefly mentioned the lymph nodes in one sentence. Rufus of
Ephesus Ephesus (; gr, Ἔφεσος, Éphesos; tr, Efes; may ultimately derive from hit, 𒀀𒉺𒊭, Apaša) was a city in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Gree ...

Ephesus
, a Roman physician, identified the axillary, inguinal and mesenteric lymph nodes as well as the thymus during the 1st to 2nd century AD. The first mention of lymphatic vessels was in the 3rd century BC by Herophilos, a Greek anatomist living in
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''Alexandria'') is the List of cities and towns in Egypt, third-largest city in Egypt after Cairo and Giza, ...

Alexandria
, who incorrectly concluded that the "absorptive veins of the lymphatics," by which he meant the
lacteal A lacteal is a lymphatic capillary that absorbs dietary fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discip ...
s (lymph vessels of the intestines), drained into the
hepatic portal vein The portal vein or hepatic portal vein (HPV) is a blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system An ...
s, and thus into the liver. The findings of Ruphus and Herophilos were further propagated by the Greek physician
Galen Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus ( el, Κλαύδιος Γαληνός; September 129 – c. AD 216), often Anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modi ...
, who described the lacteals and mesenteric lymph nodes which he observed in his dissection of apes and pigs in the 2nd century AD. In the mid 16th century,
Gabriele Falloppio Gabriele Falloppio (1523 – 9 October 1562) was an Italian Catholic priest The priesthood is the office of the ministers of religion, who have been commissioned ("ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, cons ...

Gabriele Falloppio
(discoverer of the
fallopian tube The Fallopian tubes, also known as uterine tubes, salpinges (singular salpinx), or oviducts, are tubes that stretch from the ovaries The ovary is an organ found in the female reproductive system 400px, 1. Labia_majora.html"_;"title="V ...

fallopian tube
s), described what is now known as the lacteals as "coursing over the intestines full of yellow matter." In about 1563
Bartolomeo Eustachi ''Tabulae anatomicae'' (Rome, 1783): Title page Bartolomeo Eustachi (c. 1500–1510 – 27 August 1574), also known by his Latin name of Bartholomaeus Eustachius (), was an Italian anatomist and one of the founders of the science of human anatomy ...
, a professor of anatomy, described the thoracic duct in horses as ''vena alba thoracis.'' The next breakthrough came when in 1622 a physician, , identified lymphatic vessels of the intestines in dogs and termed them ''venae albae et lacteae,'' which are now known as simply the lacteals. The lacteals were termed the fourth kind of vessels (the other three being the artery, vein and nerve, which was then believed to be a type of vessel), and disproved Galen's assertion that chyle was carried by the veins. But, he still believed that the lacteals carried the chyle to the liver (as taught by Galen). He also identified the thoracic duct but failed to notice its connection with the lacteals. This connection was established by Jean Pecquet in 1651, who found a white fluid mixing with blood in a dog's heart. He suspected that fluid to be
chyle Chyle (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
as its flow increased when abdominal pressure was applied. He traced this fluid to the thoracic duct, which he then followed to a chyle-filled sac he called the ''chyli receptaculum,'' which is now known as the cisternae chyli; further investigations led him to find that lacteals' contents enter the venous system via the thoracic duct. Thus, it was proven convincingly that the lacteals did not terminate in the
liver The liver is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's t ...

liver
, thus disproving Galen's second idea: that the chyle flowed to the liver. Johann Veslingius drew the earliest sketches of the lacteals in humans in 1647. The idea that blood recirculates through the body rather than being produced anew by the liver and the heart was first accepted as a result of works of
William Harvey William Harvey (1 April 1578 – 3 June 1657) was an English physician who made influential contributions in anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organis ...

William Harvey
—a work he published in 1628. In 1652,
Olaus Rudbeck Olaus Rudbeck (also known as Olof Rudbeck the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, and occasionally with the surname Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages ...
(1630–1702), a Swede, discovered certain transparent vessels in the liver that contained clear fluid (and not white), and thus named them ''hepatico-aqueous vessels''. He also learned that they emptied into the thoracic duct and that they had valves. He announced his findings in the court of
Queen Christina of Sweden Christina ( sv, Kristina; 18 December 1626 – 19 April 1689), a member of the House of Vasa, was Queen of Sweden from 1632 until her abdication in 1654. She succeeded her father Gustavus Adolphus upon his death at the Battle of Lützen, bu ...
, but did not publish his findings for a year, and in the interim similar findings were published by
Thomas Bartholin Thomas Bartholin (; Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s t ...
, who additionally published that such vessels are present everywhere in the body, not just in the liver. He is also the one to have named them "lymphatic vessels." This had resulted in a bitter dispute between one of Bartholin's pupils, Martin Bogdan, and Rudbeck, whom he accused of
plagiarism Plagiarism is the representation of another author An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data ...

plagiarism
. Galen's ideas prevailed in medicine until the 17th century. It was thought that blood was produced by the liver from chyle contaminated with ailments by the intestine and stomach, to which various spirits were added by other organs, and that this blood was consumed by all the organs of the body. This theory required that the blood be consumed and produced many times over. Even in the 17th century, his ideas were defended by some physicians. , of the
University of Edinburgh Medical School The University of Edinburgh Medical School (also known as Edinburgh Medical School) is the medical school A medical school is a tertiary education Tertiary education, also referred to as third-level, third-stage or post-secondary educat ...
, was the first to describe the function of the lymphatic system in detail. Image:Galen detail.jpg, "Claude Galien". Lithograph by Pierre Roche Vigneron. (Paris: Lith de Gregoire et Deneux, ca. 1865) Gabriele_Falloppio.jpg,
Gabriele Falloppio Gabriele Falloppio (1523 – 9 October 1562) was an Italian Catholic priest The priesthood is the office of the ministers of religion, who have been commissioned ("ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, cons ...

Gabriele Falloppio
Image:Bartolomeus Eustachius.jpg, Portrait of Eustachius File:Olaus Rudbeck Sr (portrait by Martin Mijtens Sr, 1696).jpg,
Olaus Rudbeck Olaus Rudbeck (also known as Olof Rudbeck the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, and occasionally with the surname Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages ...
in 1696. File:Thomas bartholin.jpg,
Thomas Bartholin Thomas Bartholin (; Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s t ...


Etymology

''Lymph'' originates in the
Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
word ' "water", which is also the source of the English word ''limpid''. The spelling with ''y'' and ''ph'' was influenced by
folk etymology Folk etymology (also known as popular etymology, analogical reformation, reanalysis, morphological reanalysis or etymological reinterpretation) is a change in a word or phrase resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more famili ...
with
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
(') "
nymph A nymph ( grc, νύμφη, nýmphē, el, script=Latn, nímfi, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Gree ...

nymph
". The adjective used for the lymph-transporting system is ''lymphatic''. The adjective used for the tissues where lymphocytes are formed is ''lymphoid''. Lymphatic comes from the Latin word ', meaning "connected to water."


See also

* List of lymphatic vessels of the human body * American Society of Lymphology *
Glymphatic system The glymphatic system (or glymphatic clearance pathway, or paravascular system) was described and named in 2013 as a system for waste clearance in the central nervous system (CNS) of vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal ...
and
Meningeal lymphatic vessels The meningeal lymphatic vessels (or meningeal lymphatics) are a network of conventional lymphatic vessels located parallel to the dural venous sinuses and Middle meningeal artery, middle meningeal arteries of the mammalian central nervous system (CN ...
- equivalent for the
central nervous system The central nervous system (CNS) is the part of the nervous system In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecu ...

central nervous system
*
Innate lymphoid cell Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are the most recently discovered family of Innate immune system, innate immune cells, derived from common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs). In response to pathogenic tissue damage, ILCs contribute to immunity via the secretio ...
s *
Lymphangiogenesis Lymphangiogenesis is the formation of lymphatic vessels from pre-existing lymphatic vessels in a method believed to be similar to angiogenesis (blood vessel development). Lymphangiogenesis plays an important physiological role in homeostasis, metab ...
* Lymphangion *
Mononuclear phagocyte system In immunology, the mononuclear phagocyte system or mononuclear phagocytic system (MPS) also known as the reticuloendothelial system or macrophage system is a part of the immune system that consists of the Phagocyte, phagocytic cells located in reti ...
* Waldemar Olszewski – discovered fundamental processes in human tissues connected with function of the lymphatic system * Trogocytosis


References


External links


Lymphatic System


(innerbody.com) {{DEFAULTSORT:Lymphatic System Angiology Animal anatomy