The lymphatic system comprises of lymphatic capillaries, lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes and lymphatic ducts. Lymph is the fluid that flows through the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic capillaries unite to form large lymphatic vessels. Lymph nodes are small oval or pear shaped structures located along the length of lymphatic vessels.
Lymph from the intercellular spaces drains into lymphatic capillaries. Lymph is a colourless fluid formed when plasma, proteins and blood cells escape into intercellular spaces in the tissues through the pores present in the walls of capillaries. It is similar to blood plasma, but is colourless and contains less proteins.The lymph contains very small amount of nutrients, oxygen, CO2, water and WBC.
· Supplies nutrients and oxygen to those parts where blood cannot reach
· It drains away excess tissue fluid and metabolites and returns proteins to the blood from tissue spaces.
· The lymph also carries absorbed fats from small intestine to the blood. The lymphatic capillaries of intestinal villi (lacteals) absorb digested fats.
· Lymphocytes in the lymph defend the body from infections.