Lymph

Lymph, derived from a Latin word, is a fluid that flows through the lymphatic system that is composed of lymph nodes and lymph vessels or channels. Lymph is formed when the interstitial 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 like 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 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 interstitial fluid. Interstitial fluid is the solution that environs the cells and tissues in the body.


Functions of the Interstitial Fluids

The major functions of the interstitial fluids are as follows:

  • Interstitial 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 returns 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 a lesser number of calcium, blood proteins, phosphorus, 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 and organic substances, etc.


Lymph Corpuscles

Lymph corpuscles are floating amoeboid cells, the white blood corpuscles (the leukocytes), which are typically lymphocytes. Red blood corpuscles (erythrocytes) and platelets are not present in lymph.


Lymphoid Organs

Lymphoid organs are the organs that secrete lymph. In addition to 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.


Let us discuss these lymphoid organs in detail.


Lymph Nodes – Lymph nodes are bean-shaped tissues that act as filters for the lymph cells before it passes into the blood. Any foreign substances (like germs cells) which are caught by the immune cells are trapped in this filter. 


Thymus Gland – The thymus gland is most active in young children, especially around the pre-adolescents phase, after which at puberty, it slowly starts to be replaced by fatty tissues. It is mainly responsible for the production of T cells (a special type of immune cell).


Tonsils – Present in the throat and palate, tonsils play a major role in preventing the germs cells from entering the body via mouth or nose.


Spleen – Spleen is the largest mass of lymphatic tissues in the human body and has many important functions to perform for the healthy functioning of the body. It is mainly responsible for the production of various immune cells to fight antigens or to get rid of the old red blood cells (graveyard of RBCs) etc. It also acts as a store for various immune cells.


Functions of Lymph

  • 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.
  • Cells of the body are maintained moist by the lymph.
  • Lymphocytes are produced by lymph nodes. Lymph takes antibodies and lymphocytes from the lymph nodes to the blood.
  • Lymph destroys the attacking foreign particles and microorganisms in the lymph nodes.
  • It transports and absorbs fat-soluble vitamins and fat from the intestine. Villi are the lymphatic capillaries that are present in the intestinal villi.
  • It brings hormones made in the endocrine glands to the blood and plasma protein macromolecules manufactured in the liver cells.
  • 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.
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FAQs on Composition of Lymph

1. What are Lymphs in Biology?

Lymph is a biological fluid present in a human’s body and this fluid has a somewhat similar composition to that of the plasma, present between the cells and tissues. It is colourless in nature and flows through the lymphatic system of a human’s body. It is composed of lymph nodes and lymph vessels or channels. This liquid flows in the empty space between tissue structures, the student can consider it as a sponge. Like water fills the spaces in a sponge, the interstitial fluid fills the cavities between the cells, this fluid lubricates and nourishes in the cells of all the tissues.

2. What is the difference between blood and lymph?

  • The blood is a reddish coloured fluid, while the lymph is completely colourless in nature.

  • Lymph fluid is a part of the lymphatic system, while the circulatory system consists of blood.

  • Lymph helps in the immune system of the body while blood oversees the transfer of nutrients and oxygen.

  • Lymph consists mainly of plasma and a little number of WBCs and platelets; in contrast, blood has a relatively high number of WBCs and platelets, blood also contains a large number of RBCs, but even their major component is plasma.

  • The moment in lymph is generally slower than the blood, and lymph only flows in a single direction, while blood moves in a circular motion.

3. What is the interstitial fluid?

There exist many empty spaces or cavities between the tissues of a human body, these cavities are known as the interstitial space; and in this space, many fluids flow in order to protect the cells from any harmful substance that might enter these spaces, these fluids are what known as the Interstitial fluids, an example of it would be the Lymph. These fluids lubricate and surround the tissues to protect them from any harmful substance. They also facilitate the transfer of nutrients from the blood to the cells they surround.

4. Write a short note on the composition of the lymph fluid.

Mainly the lymph fluid consists of three parts – lymph plasma, lymph corpuscles, and lymphoid organs. The major chunk of lymph is of lymph plasma, the lymph plasma is nearly the same as the plasma found in the blood but less amount of nutrients and protein present in them. Lymph corpuscles are floating amoeboid cells, typically consisting of lymphocytes. Lymphoid organs are glands that produce lymph fluid. Lymph nodes and the thymus gland are some common examples of lymphoid organs which can store and secrete the fluid of lymph.

5. Write a short note on the various functions of the lymph fluid?

Lymph fluids facilitate the process of transportation of the nutrients from the blood cells to the cells that require those nutrients; this fluid plays the role of middlemen here in this transfer, lymph fluid takes the necessary nutrients from the blood and delivers them to the cells they are surrounding. Lymph maintains the moisture level in the cells of the body and also helps the immune system to fight any foreign substances that may or may not be harmful to the cells of your body.


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