Lymphatic system

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Part of the immune system is the lymphatic system which is made up of a network of conduits that carry a clear fluid called lymph (from Latin lympha "water"[1]). The conduits, also known as lymphatic vessels, compose a one-way system in which lymph flows only toward the heart. Lymphoid tissue is found in many organs, particularly the lymph nodes, and in the lymphoid follicles associated with the digestive system such as the tonsils. The system also includes all the structures dedicated to the circulation and production of lymphocytes, which includes the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and the lymphoid tissue associated with the digestive system.[2] The lymphatic system as we know it today was first described independently by Olaus Rudbeck and Thomas Bartholin.

The blood does not directly come in contact with the parenchymal cells and tissues in the body, but constituents of the blood first exit the microvascular exchange blood vessels to become interstitial fluid, which comes into contact with the parenchymal cells of the body. Lymph is the fluid that is formed when interstitial fluid enters the initial lymphatic vessels of the lymphatic system. The lymph is then moved along the lymphatic vessel network by either intrinsic contractions of the lymphatic vessels or by extrinsic compression of the lymphatic vessels via external tissue forces (e.g. the contractions of skeletal muscles).


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