Spleen

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The spleen (from Greek σπλήν - splēn[1]) is an organ found in virtually all vertebrate animals with important roles in regard to red blood cells and the immune system.[2] In humans, it is located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen. It removes old red blood cells and holds a reserve of blood in case of hemorrhagic shock while also recycling iron.[3] It synthesizes antibodies in its white pulp and removes antibody-coated bacteria along with antibody-coated blood cells by way of blood and lymph node circulation. The spleen is purple and gray.[3][4] Recently, it has been found to contain in its reserve half of the body's monocytes within the red pulp. These monocytes, upon moving to injured tissue (such as the heart), turn into dendritic cells and macrophages while promoting tissue healing.[5][6][7] It is one of the centers of activity of the reticuloendothelial system and can be considered analogous to a large lymph node, as its absence leads to a predisposition toward certain infections.[8]

Contents

Anatomy

The spleen, in healthy adult humans, is approximately 11 centimetres (4.3 in) in length. It usually weighs between 150 grams (5.3 oz)[9] and 200 grams (7.1 oz)[10] and lies beneath the 9th to the 12th thoracic ribs[10].

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