Lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is the body’s main defense system. It consists of lymph nodes (lymph nodes), that is, a complex network of vessels, responsible for transporting the lymph from the tissues to the circulatory system.

In addition, it has other functions such as the protection of immune cells, as it works with the immune system. Another important role of the lymphatic system is in the absorption of fatty acids and the balance of fluids (liquids) in tissues.

Formation of the lymphatic system

How the Lymphatic System Works

Lymphatic vessels

To perform its function of eliminating impurities from our body, the lymphatic system works together with the immune system.

The lymphatic system works in conjunction with various organs and elements of the body. This is how he manages to reach all parts of the body to filter the tissue fluid he nourished, oxygenated the blood capillaries and left with carbon dioxide and excreta.

Unlike blood that is driven by the strength of the heart, in the lymphatic system the lymph moves slowly and with low pressure. It depends on the compression of the movements of the muscles to press the liquid.

It is from the contraction performed by the movement of the muscles that the fluid is transported to the lymphatic vessels. As they are bigger, they end up accumulating in the right lymphatic duct and in the thoracic duct, thus traveling to the rest of the body.

Lymphatic System Components

Components of the lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is made up of different components and organs. See below what they are and how each of them acts in the body.

Lymph nodes

Lymph nodes (lymph nodes) are called lymph nodes. They are small organs (up to 2 cm) present in the neck, chest, abdomen, armpit and groin.

Formed by lymphoid tissue and distributed throughout the body, the lymph nodes are responsible for filtering the lymph before it returns to the blood. In addition, they also act in the defense of the organism, preventing foreign particles from remaining in the body.

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Lymph is a transparent, alkaline liquid similar to blood that circulates through the lymphatic vessels. However, it has no red blood cells and, therefore, has a whitish and milky appearance.

Responsible for eliminating impurities, lymph is produced by the small intestine and liver. Its transport is made by the lymphatic vessels in a single direction (unidirectional), filtered by the lymph nodes and released into the blood.

Also read about:

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  • Red Cells

Lymphatic vessels

Lymphatic vessels are channels, distributed throughout the body, which have valves that carry lymph in the bloodstream in a single direction, thus preventing reflux.

They act on the body’s defense system, as they remove dead cells and transport lymphocytes (white blood cells) that fight infections in the body.

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  • Blood vessels
  • Leukocytes


Largest of the lymphatic organs, the spleen is an oval-shaped organ, located below the diaphragm and behind the stomach.

It is responsible for the defense of the organism and performs the following functions: production of antibodies (T and B lymphocytes) and red blood cells (hematopoiesis), blood storage and hormone release.

Learn more about:

  • Spleen
  • Hormones
  • Endocrine system
  • Human body organs without which you can survive


The thymus is an organ located in the chest cavity, close to the heart.

In addition to producing substances such as thymosin and thymine, the thymus produces antibodies (T lymphocyte), thus acting in the defense of the organism.

It is curious to note that the thymus is an organ that decreases in size throughout life.

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Palatine tonsils

Popularly, these two organs located in the throat, are known as tonsils or palatine tonsils.

They are responsible for the selection of microorganisms that penetrate the body, mainly through the mouth. In this case, they assist in the defense process of the organism since they produce lymphocytes.

Some Lymphatic System Diseases


Filariasis or filariasis is known as “tropical infectious disease” and corresponds to the inflammation of the lymphatic vessels transmitted by an insect (culex mosquito).

Its name is associated with fluid retention or swelling of the limbs, making patients’ legs look like an elephant.


Characterized by inflammation and obstruction of the lymphatic vessels, lymphedema leads to excessive swelling of the limbs.

Curiosities about the lymphatic system

  • Other diseases associated with the lymphatic system are cellulite (accumulation of fat), alleviated with the treatment of lymphatic drainage; tongue (swollen lymph nodes) and some types of cancer ( lymphoma ), for example breast cancer.
  • In the human body, lymph is more abundant than blood.


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