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2.03 Remember the structures of the lymphatic system. Structures of the lymphatic system. Lymph fluid. 2. Lymph vessels. 3. Lymph nodes. 4. Lymph glands.

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structures of the lymphatic system
Structures of the lymphatic system
  • Lymph fluid

2. Lymph vessels

3. Lymph nodes

4. Lymph glands


The lymph system is designed for transportation in a way similar to the circulatory system, but it is not about oxygen and nutrients. The lymph fluid acts like the clean-up crew for your body.

You know that you are made of water and fluids. All of those fluids are usually contained inside cells- “intracellular”. There are some fluids found between the cells or actually seep out of the cells. This ”intercellular” fluid slowly begins to accumulate and must be returned to the cells and the blood stream. The lymph system gathers those fluids and returns them to your blood. The lymph system is also closely associated with your immune system.


Lymph fluid is:

  • straw-colored
  • clear

Lymph vessels

  • parallel blood vessels
  • transport lymph
      • Lymph is under no pressure to move toward the heart, kind of like blood in veins.
      • Lymph flows only in one direction- toward the heart!
  • So how do you think the lymph is moved forward?

Functions of the lymphatic system :

Collect and transport fluids from the intercellular spaces in the tissues of the body, back to the veins in the blood system. It plays an important role in returning plasma proteins to the bloodstream

Digested fats are absorbed  and transported from the villi in the small intestine to the bloodstream via the lacteals and lymph vessels.

3 . Lymphocytes are manufactured in the lymph nodes-

They filter out bacteria and toxins.

4. Transports large compounds like enzymes and hormones from their manufactured sites to the bloodstream.


Lymph vessels

  • Lacteals =
  • The most familiar function of the lymphatics is to carry lymph from the tissues back to the blood stream, but the network of lymphatic vessels which serve the intestines also transports nutrients from the food into the blood stream. 

Large lymph vessels

    • 1. left lymphatic duct
      • Also called the thoracic duct.
      • receives lymph from the left side as pictured
    • Right lymphatic duct

Lymph nodes

  • tiny, oval-shaped structures
  • range in size from a pinhead to an almond

Lymph node


Lymph nodes

Where are lymph nodes located?

between 500 and 600 lymph nodes distributed throughout the  body. Found in clusters in the underarms, groin, neck, chest and abdomen.

Why are there so many?

Their function is to filter out all the dead bacteria, viruses, and other dead tissue from the lymphatic fluid and eliminate it from the body. When the immune system is activated they begin producing large numbers of lymphocytes which causes them to swell.


Tonsils = masses of lymphatic tissue

  • 3 pairs
    • Palatine tonsils
      • sides of throat
    • Adenoids
      • upper throat
    • Lingual tonsils
      • back of tongue

The tonsils (palatine tonsils) are a pair of soft tissue masses located at the rear of the throat (pharynx). Each tonsil is composed of tissue similar to lymph nodes.

  • The tonsils are part of the lymphatic system, which helps to fight infections.
  • Removal of the tonsils does not seem to increase susceptibility to infection.
  • Tonsils vary widely in size and swell in response to infection.

Say “aahhh”

How does this help the HCP during your exam?



  • The spleen is an organ in the upper far left part of the abdomen, to the left of the stomach. The spleen varies in size and shape between people, but it’s commonly fist-shaped and about 4 inches long. Because the spleen is protected by the rib cage, you can’t easily feel it unless it’s abnormally enlarged.
  • The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there. The spleen also helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis.
can you identify these organs
Can you identify these organs?

2.03 Remember the stuctures of the lymphatic system


The thymus gland is an organ in the upper chest cavity that processes lymphocytes. This organ is part of both the lymphatic system and the endocrine system, which includes all glands that produce hormones.

  • The thymus is most important in children and young adults, when it programs lymphocytes to attack antigens, like viruses.
  • People who do not have this gland, or in whom it does not function correctly, have compromised immune systems and difficulty fighting disease.

Thymus gland


What is unique about the thymus gland?

  • In a young adult it is a few centimeters long and weighs about one-half ounce.
  • In a baby, the thymus is really very large compared to the rest of the body.
  • It grows quite quickly until about the age of seven; after this the thymus continues to grow, but much more slowly until puberty. After the age of puberty the thymus starts to shrink in size--a process called involution--until in an elderly person there may be no more thymus tissue present apart from a bit of fat and connective tissue."

Let’s review…What are the structures of the

lymphatic system?

1. f_ _ _ _

2. g_ _ _ _

3. n_ _ _ _

4. v_ _ _ _ _

When is your test?

Do not procrastinate…study some every night!