Unit 8_Lymphatic System

Unit 8_Lymphatic System - Functions of the Lymphatic System...

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Functions of the Lymphatic System The lymphatic system has three primary functions. First of all, it returns excess interstitial fluid to the blood. Of the fluid that leaves the capillary, about 90 percent is returned. The 10 percent that does not return becomes part of the interstitial fluid that surrounds the tissue cells. Small protein molecules may "leak" through the capillary wall and increase the osmotic pressure of the interstitial fluid. This further inhibits the return of fluid into the capillaries, and fluid tends to accumulate in the tissue spaces. If this continues, blood volume and blood pressure decrease significantly and the volume of tissue fluid increases, which results in edema (swelling). Lymph capillaries pick up the excess interstitial fluid and proteins and return them to the venous blood. After the fluid enters the lymph capillaries, it is called lymph. The second function of the lymphatic system is the absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system and the subsequent transport of these substances to the venous circulation. The mucosa that lines the small intestine is covered with fingerlike projections called villi. There are blood capillaries and special lymph capillaries, called lacteals, in the center of each villus. The blood capillaries absorb most nutrients, but the fats and fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed by the lacteals. The lymph in the lacteals has a milky appearance due to its high fat content and is called chyle. The third and probably most well known function of the lymphatic system is defense against invading microorganisms and disease. Lymph nodes and other lymphatic organs filter the lymph to remove microorganisms and other foreign particles. Lymphatic organs contain lymphocytes that destroy invading organisms. Components of the Lymphatic System The lymphatic system consists of a fluid (lymph), vessels that transport the lymph, and organs that contain lymphoid tissue. Lymph Lymph is a fluid similar in composition to blood plasma. It is derived from blood plasma as fluids pass through capillary walls at the arterial end. As the interstitial fluid begins to accumulate, it is picked up and removed by tiny lymphatic vessels and returned to the blood. As soon as the interstitial fluid enters the lymph capillaries, it is called lymph. Returning the fluid to the blood prevents edema and helps to maintain normal blood
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2011 for the course ANP 101 taught by Professor Jaques during the Spring '11 term at Queens University.

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Unit 8_Lymphatic System - Functions of the Lymphatic System...

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