Lymph, derived from a Latin word, is a fluid which flows through the lymphatic system that is composed of lymph nodes and lymph vessels or channels. Lymph is formed when the intestinal fluid i.e. the fluid that lies in the interstices of all body tissues is gathered through lymph capillaries. Then it is elated through larger lymphatic vessels to lymph nodes, where materials are eliminated by lymphocytes, before unfilling eventually into the left and right subclavian vein, where it blends with the venous blood.
As the lymph is derived from the intestinal fluid, its composition frequently changes as the blood and the surrounding cells repeatedly swap over materials with the intestinal fluid. It is usually alike blood plasma, which is the fluid component of blood. Lymph returns proteins and also surplus intestinal fluid to the bloodstream.
Bacteria might pierce into lymph channels and could be transported to lymph nodes, where they will be destroyed. The lymphatic system plays a vital role in multicellular organisms since it is responsible for executing multiple interconnected functions. The lymphatic system comprises of various parts, which are engaged in various functions.
In human beings and animals, the extracellular fluid, which is present inside the tissue cells, consists of all the fluids of the body. It is divided into plasma and intestinal fluid. Intestinal fluid is the solution that environs the cells and tissues in the body.
Functions of the intestinal fluids are as follows:
• Intestinal fluid is used for transporting nutrients to the cells.
• It is used to offer intercellular communication among the cells.
• It is also used in eliminating the metabolic wastes from the cells.
The essential quantity of intestinal fluid is gathered by the lymphatic system and the rest is exhausted out. The exhausted fluid return back into the major vein and the remaining fluid that is gathered through the lymph capillaries is known as lymph.
The composition of lymph:
• Lymph plasma:
Lymph plasma is like that of blood but has lesser number of calcium, blood proteins, the phosphorous and a high amount of glucose concentration. Mostly, globulin proteins that are present are in fact antibodies. Further components of the lymph plasma are very much similar to that of blood plasma, water, inorganic & organic substances, etc.
• Lymph corpuscles:
Lymph corpuscles are floating amoeboid cells, the white blood corpuscles (the leucocytes), which are typically lymphocytes. Red blood corpuscles (erythrocytes) and platelets are not present in lymph.
Lymphoid organs are the organs that secrete lymph. In addition o the lymph nodes, thymus gland, tonsils, spleen and Peyer’s patches are the added lymphoid organs. In the body, the largest mass of lymphatic tissue is the spleen.
Functions of lymph:
1. Lymph performs the role of a middle man that transports food materials, hormones, oxygen, etc to the cells of the body and brings other metabolic wastes and carbon dioxide from the cells of the body to blood. Then it finally empties them into the venous system.
2. Cells of the body are maintained moist by the lymph.
3. Lymphocytes are produced by lymph nodes. Lymph takes antibodies and lymphocytes from the lymph nodes to the blood.
4. Lymph destroys the attacking foreign particles and microorganisms in the lymph nodes.
5. It transports and absorbs fat-soluble vitamins and fat from the intestine. Villi are the lymphatic capillaries that are present in the intestinal villi.
6. It brings hormones made in the endocrine glands to the blood and plasma protein macromolecules manufactured in the liver cells.
7. It sustains the volume of the blood. Once the volume of the blood is reduced in the blood vascular system, the lymph hurries from the lymphatic system to the blood vascular system.