Overview of the structures of the lymphatic system

Structure

Description

Function

Lymphatic capillaries

Minute blind-end tubes, similar in structure to blood capillaries

Drain away excess fluid and waste products from the tissue spaces of the body

Lymphatic vessels

Similar in structure to veins; have one-way valves and thin, collapsible walls

Carry the lymph towards the heart

(Continued )

Structure

Description

Function

Lymphatic nodes

Oval or bean-shaped structures covered by a capsule of connective tissue. Made up of lymphatic tissue

Filter lymph of micro-organisms, cell debris or harmful substances

Lymphatic ducts (thoracic and right lymphatic)

The thoracic duct is the largest lymphatic vessel in the body and extends from second lumbar vertebra up through the thorax to the root of the neck The right lymphatic duct is very short in length. It lies in the root of the neck

Collect lymph from the whole body and return it to the blood via the subclavian veins

KEY FACT

The term oedema refers to an excess of fluid within the tissue spaces that causes the tissues to become waterlogged.

Lymphatic -vessel

Endothelial cell

Lymphatic -vessel

Endothelial cell

Closed valve

Fig 6.3 A lymphatic vessel

Closed valve

Fig 6.3 A lymphatic vessel

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