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Video 14 Lymph System

14) The lymphatic systemThe lymphatic system provides the central structure of the immune system. It is made up of an intricate network of vessels that connect hundreds of lymph nodes as well as several key organs. Inside this network is our lymph fluid, which is a plasma liquid that flows in just one direction, beginning at the tissue cells and moving upward toward the neck where filtered and enhanced lymph fluid empties into our veins, and rejuvenating the blood with fresh plasma and white cells. Let’s take a closer look. The flow of lymph fluid begins in specialized lymph capillaries, located just under the skin as well as surrounding the internal organs of the body. The lymph begins as it is collected from the interstitial fluid found between tissue cells of the body. As our blood and tissue cells add and remove substances from the interstitial fluid, it is also taken into the lymph system. Once the lymph is pulled into the lymph vessels it flows through the nodes and lymph organs, where the lymph is filtered and enhanced. The nodes store white cells and provide both a filtering and fighting function. Nodes add fresh white cells to the lymph and if the white cells detect antigens in the lymph they react with an inflammation response and kill the antigens. Lymph nodes are located throughout the body and clustered near strategic vein locations, such as the elbow, knee, chest, neck, groin, arm pits, and abdomen. The organs of the lymph system enhance the lymph fluid and assist with immune function in their own specialized ways. Let’s begin with our tonsils, which provide a local defense at a vulnerable spot where we are exposed to outside antigens. Tonsils effectively produce antigens that stop anitgens entering from the nose and mouth that can cause respiratory infections. The tonsils trap antigens and hang onto them so that other immune cells can destroy them. The thymus stores immature lymphocytes, where they also mature into T-cells before migrating to infected locations of the body where they help destroy anitgens. The “T” in T-cell comes from the “t” in thymus, which is where they live and differentiate before migrating to where they are needed to fight antigens.The Spleen helps remove cells coated with aniibodies as well as antigens. The spleen also helps breakdown and recycle red blood cells. Another important function of the spleen is to store monocytes. B-cells, T-cells and natural killer cells are the three primary types of lymphocytes circulating in the lymph fluid and then into the blood stream. We’ll take a closer look at how these cells work together in coming videos.