In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Definition of Lymph 2. Composition of Lymph 3. Functions.
Definition of Lymph:
Lymph is a mobile connective tissue comprising lymph plasma (fluid) and lymph corpuscles (cells).
Composition of Lymph:
(i) Lymph Plasma:
It is similar to that of blood but has fewer blood proteins, less calcium and phosphorus and high glucose concentration. Mainly globulin proteins are present which are actually antibodies. Other components of the lymph plasma are very much like that of blood plasma, i.e., organic, inorganic substances, water, etc.
(ii) Lymph Corpuscles:
These are floating amoeboid cells, the leucocytes (white blood corpuscles), which are mostly lymphocytes. Erythrocytes (red blood corpuscles) and platelets are absent in lymph.
The organs which secrete lymph are called lymphoid organs. Besides the lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus gland, spleen and Peyer’s patches are the other lymphoid organs. The spleen is the largest mass of lymphatic tissue in the body.
Functions of Lymph:
1. Lymph acts as a “middle man” which transports oxygen, food materials, hormones, etc., to the body cells and brings carbon dioxide and other metabolic wastes, from the body cells to blood and then finally pours the same into the venous system.
2. Body cells are kept moist by the lymph.
3. Lymph nodes produce lymphocytes. Lymph takes lymphocytes and antibodies from the lymph nodes to the blood.
4. It destroys the invading microorganisms and foreign particles in the lymph nodes.
5. It absorbs and transports fat and fat soluble vitamins from the intestine. Lymphatic capillaries present in the intestinal villi are called lacteals which are associated with absorption and transportation of fat and fat soluble vitamins.
6. It brings plasma protein macromolecules synthesized in the liver cells and hormones produced in the endocrine glands to the blood. These molecules cannot pass into the narrow blood capillaries but can diffuse into the lymphatic capillaries.
7. Lymph maintains the volume of the blood. As soon as the volume of the blood reduces in the blood vascular system, the lymph rushes from the lymphatic system to the blood vascular system.