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Lymphatic System

Functions of Lymphatic System

1. Body’s defense system against microorganisms and other harmful substance

Microorganisms and other foreign substances are filtered from lymph to the
lymph nodes and from blood by the spleen.

Lymphocytes are capable of destroying microorganisms and foreign


2. Maintains fluid balance

3L of lymph enters to the lymphatic capillaries lymphatic vessels

returns to blood

Lymph contains solutes from 2 sources

a.Substance in plasma such as ions, nutrients, gases and some proteins

that pass from blood capillaries into the interstitial space

b. Substances such as hormones, enzymes and waste products that is

derived from cells

3. Fat absorption

Lacteals are located in the small intestine linings.

Fat enters to the lacteals and pass through the lymphatic vessels to the
venous circulation

Chyle - lymph that has a milky appearance due to fat content

Characteristics of Lymphatic Capillaries and Vessels

Lymphatic system carries fluid in one direction from tissues to the circulatory
Lymphatic capillaries are tiny closed ended valve consisting of simple squamous

Lymphatic vessels are more permeable than blood capillaries because it lacks
basement membrane and fluids move easily .

Overlapping squamous cells of lymphatic capillary walls acts as valve to prevent

fluid backflow

Lymphatic capillaries joins to form the lymphatic vessels which resembles small

Small lymphatic vessels have small beaded appearance that resembles the one way
valve of veins

When a lymphatic vessel is compressed, backward movement of lymph is

prevented and consequently causes lymph to move forward

Three factors that causes compression

1. Contraction of the surrounding skeletal muscle during activity

2. Periodic contraction of smooth muscle in the lymphatic vessel wall

3. Pressure changes in the thorax during respiration

Lymphatic vessels converge and empty into the blood at two locations of the body

Lymphatic vessels from the upper right limb and the right half of the head, neck and
chest froms the right lymphatic duct which empties into the right subclavian vein.

Lymphatic vessels from the rest of the body enter the thoracic duct and empties
into the left subclavian vein

Lymphatic organs

Lymphatic organs includes tonsils, lymph nodes, spleen and thymus glands

Lymphatic tissue consists of lymphocytes and other cells such as macrophages that
are found within lymphatic organ

Form the protective ring of the lymphatic tissue around the openings between the
nasal, oral cavities and the pharynx

There are three groups of tonsils

1. Palatine located on each side of the posterior opening of the oral cavity

2. Pharyngeal tonsils located near the internal opening of the nasal cavity

3. Lingual tonsils located posterior to the tongue

Organization and structure of the lymphatic vessels

One way network in which their contained lymph flows from the lymphatic
capillaries to the ducts and finally towards the heart

1. Lymphatic capillaries

 Small closed-ended vessels made up of simple squamous epithelium

 Remarkably permeable and serve as the site where the leaked plasma in
the tissue space are reabsorbed

 The plasma that enters a lymphatic capillary is called lymph

 They are weaved between the tissue cells and blood capillaries nearly all
tissues except CNS and tse w/o blood

2. Lymphatic collecting vessels

 The next area where the lymph flows from the lymphatic capillarie

 Comparable structure of the veins but tends to be more delicate having

thinner walls

3. Lymphatic trunks

 Formed by the union of largest collecting vessels and drain fairly large
areas of the body. They are named typically from the regions where they
collect lymph

Major trunks are

a. Lumbar trunk

b. Intestinal trunk

c. Bronchomediastinal trunk

d. Subclavian trunk
e. Jugular trunk

4. Ducts

a. Right lymphatic duct

b. Thoracic duct

These two ducts empty at the junction of the internal jugular vein and subclavian
vein on the same side of the body then back to the heart via the superior vena cava

Lymph Transport

The flow of lymphatic fluid is slowly maintained by the compression the lymphatic
vessels by the following

a. Skeletal muscle contraction

b. Pressure changes in the thorax during respiration

c. Contractions of smooth muscle in the lymphatic vessels

 The backflow of the lymph is prevented by valves

 Pathogens and cancer cells may spread to the body via lymphatic stream
lyumphatic capillaries are permeable

Lymphatic Tissue

There are three basic lymphatic tissue

1. Loose lymphatic tissue is dominated by reticular cells and fibers and form a
loose spongy network through which lymphatic flow is slow and cells are
temporarily trapped

2. Dense lymphatic tissueis dominated by large populations of closely

aggregated lymphocytes

3. Nodular lymphatic tissue is found in all lymphatic organs apart from the

Lymphatic organs

1. Lymph nodes

 kidney shaped structures clustered along the lymphatic vessels and

serves as in line mechanical filters of lymph
 lymph is transported towards the lymph node via afferent lymphatic
vessels that are seen in the depression on the concave side of the node
called hilum

 inside the lymph node the lymph is filtered an antibodies are made by
lymphocytes as a reaction to several particulate matters that were filtered

 lymphocytes play an important role in mounting an immune response

 Within the lymph nodes are macrophages which engulf and destroy
bacteria, cancer cells and any other foreign materials

 The filtered lymph with added antibodies is released through efferent

lymphatic vessels located at the convex surface


The lymph node has a fibrous capsule, a cortex and a medulla

Lymph node cortex contains lymphocytes with lightly staining germinal


In the lymph node medulla, there are medullary cords that contains
lymphocytes and also macrophages with spaces called medullary sinuses

2. Thymus gland

 Found in the superior mediastinum

3. Spleen

 Located in the hypochondriac area

 Weighs about 150g in adults and forms the largest aggregation of

lymphatic tissues in the vessels

 Described as the graveyard for aged and defective blood cells

 Serve as the site for lymphocyte proliferation, immune surveillance and


 30-40ml of blood stored in the spleen

 30% of all blood platelets in the body are stored in the spleen to meet
physiological demands in case of emergency.

Sorrounded by fibrous capskle and has trabeculae that extends inward
forming compartments

Contains lymphocytes, macrophages and a huge number of erythrocytes

Red pulp is the region that contains RBC’s and abundant macrophages.

White pulp consists mostly of lymphocytes suspened on reticular fibers

4. Tonsisls

 These forms the ring of lymphatic tissue around the entrance of the
pharynx and is called the Waldeyer’s ring

The ring is made up of

1. Palatine

2. Pharyngeal tonsils

3. Lingual


Tonsils are aggregates of lymphatic tissues and are partly encapsulated with a
dense connective tissue

Stratified squamous epithelium covers the oral side of the tonsil with invaginations
called crypts which traps microorganisms

5. Peyer’s Patches

 Large isolated clusters of lymph nodules found in the ileum

 Macophages of payers patches are ideal position to capture and destroy

bacteria, preventing them from travelling the intestinal wall

 Peyers patches are ost evident in the ileum

Immune System

Immune system enables the body to fight infections by utilizing mechanisims which
identify and destroy pathogens and tumor cells. It distinguishes normal and healthy
cells and tissue from pathogens

A state of having enough biological defences to fight infection, disease or other
unwated biological invasions. It is the ability of the organism to resist illness by
identifying and destroying foreign substance or organism

Types of immune response

A. Non specific Immune response or Innate immunity

 Generalized defense against all foreign invaders

 Prevents entry of microorganisms into the tissue

 Eliminates foreign microorganisms prior to causing of disease

 Does not become more efficient in succeeding exposure to microorganism

1. Mechanical Barriers

 Skin and mucous membranes

 Body secretions

2. Chemical Mediators

 Molecules on the cells surface that directly kill microorganisms and also
hinder their entry into the cells

a. Lysozymes found in tears, and saliva directing kill some bacteria

b. Complement active complements promote inflammation and

phagocytosis and can also directly rupture bacterial cells

c. Interferons are group of natural proteins that are produced by human

cells in response to viral infection and other stimuli. Viruses
ofetentimes stimulate infected cells to produce interferonsbut these
does not protect the cells that produce them.

Newly synthesized interferons further stimulate neighboring uninfected

cells to produce antiviral proteins that will inhibit viral replication

3. Cells

a. White blood cells= leave the blood and enter the affected tissue when
chemical mediators are released from damaged tissues and

These chemical mediators known to attract WBC are histamine,

complement, leukotrienes and kinins
b. Phagocytic cells

a. Neutrophils are the first group of cells to reach infected tissue from
blood, after phagocytosis, neutrophils die and become part of the pus

b. Macrophages prior to leaving to blood these are called monocytes,

uppn entering to specific tissue these monocytes becomes enlarged
and have specific names.

Macrophages act as one of the primary defences of a specific tissue

where they reside.

c. Cells of inflammation

Basophils and mast cells As a reaction to foreign organisms or matter

theses cells release chemicals such as histamines and leukotrienes that
produce an inflammatory response

Eosinophils released enzymes that breakdown chemicals released by

basophils and mast cells reducing inflammatory response

d. Natural Killer cells

Lymphocytes that recognize tumor cells or virus infected cells in general

Does not exhibit a memory response . release chemicals that damage cell

4. Inflammatory response

Reponse begins with damage tissue or microorganisms that causes the

release or activation of chemical mediators such as your prostaglandins
leukotrienes, complements, kinins and histamines

These chemical mediators generate a number of effects namely

1. Vasodilation which leads to an increase in blood circulation in the affected


2. Increased vascular permeability

3. chemotactic attraction to phagocytic cells

The inflammatory response may be localized or systemic

Local inflammation is limited to a specific area of the body with the following
a. calor or heat

b. rubor or redness

c. dolor or pain

d. tumor or swelling

e. Functio leasa or loss of function

Systemic inflammationon the other hand, largely occurs throughout the body
with three additional features aside from local inflammation

a. Enhance redmarrow production of neuthrophis and phagocyte

b. Neutrophils microorganisms release pyrogens that stimulate fever

production. High temp inhibits microbial replication and enhances body repair

c. Vascular permeability in severe systemic inflammation is often times

increased to a greater degree that cause a very low bloos volume leading to
a shock and death

B. Specific responses or acquired adaptive immunity

Adaptive immune response are more complicated than innate

Highly specific to a pathogen and remembers preceding infections

Provides lifelong immunity

Antigens and antibodies

1. Antigens

 Foreign proteins that enter our body via open wound or mucousa

 Immunity may be result from production of antibodies specific to a given


2. Antibodies or immunoglobulins

 Y shaped molecules consisitn go f four polypeptide chain

 Variable regions- These are ends of each arm of the antibody that
combine with the antigen
 Constant region- The rest of the body which can activate complements,
bind to other immune system cells such as macrophages, basophils or
mast cells

Classes of immunoglobulins

1. IgG- most abundant, can cross placenta and weakly activates complement

2. IgA- Major class of Ig in body secretions such as tears, saliva, colostrums,

and mucus

3. igM – largest part of Ig potent activator of complement system and the

first to be developed by the fetus

4. IgE mediates allergic and parasitic reaction

5. IgD main antibody of surface lymphocytes of the newborn

The adaptive response to antigens maybe categoriacally divided into

1. Humoral Immunnity or antibody Mediated Immunity

 Involves B lymphocytes that gives rise to antibodies

 Protection against extra cellular antigens

2. Cell Mediated Immunity

 T cells from the thymus glands

 Fignts against microorganisms that live inside the cells of the body such
as bacteria, viruses tumors,

 Responsible for graft rejection

Types of mature lymphocytes

1. T-cells or T lymphocytes

 Lymphocytes that have migrated to the thymus gland to proliferate and

confer cell mediated immunity

Specific cells are

a. Helper T cells

 Chemically or directly stimulates the development of other T cells and

some B cells that have become bound to antigens
b. Cytotoxic T cells or Killer cells

 Directly attacks and lyse cancer cells, infected cells as well as foreign
human cells

c. Suppressor T cells

 Terminates normal immune response by releasing suppressor factors that

reduce activity of B and T cells

2. B cells or B lymphocytes

 Remain in the bone marrow and develop before moving into circulatory or
lymph systems

 Provide humoral immune response when challenged by an antigen which

eventually leads to the production of antibodies

Roles of B cells in immune response:

a. Primary immune response

. results from firs exposure to B cells to an antigen------- antigen binds into

the receptors of B cells----- differentiatin of B cells into a memory cell and

 Usually last for 3-14 days when sx of the disease are very apparent until
production of antibodies is enough that coincide with the disappearance of

b. Secondary Immune Response

 When the immune system is again exposed to the same antigen

 Provides better immunity than the primary response due to the presence
of memory cells

 Production of antibodies occurs in less time thus more antibodies are

produced. The antigen is quickly destroyed and no symptoms develop

Types of acquired Immunity

Active Immunity occurs when B cells encpunter antigens as a result antibodies are
produced against them

1. Natural active

 An outcome of bacterial and viral infection. The body is actively producing

antibodies as a result of infection
2. Artificial Active

 Occurs when we receive vaccine of dead or attenuated antigen

Passive Immunity

 Antibodies are introduced in the body

1. Natural passive

 Is passed on a fetus when the mother’s antibodies cross th eplacentainot

the fetal circulation

2. Artificial passive

 Happens when a person receives an infusion of an immune serum as

gamma globulins