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Hodgkin's Disease - The Lymphatic System

cells nodes immune fluid

The lymphatic system is part of the body's immune system. It consists of a number of elements. First, there is a network of vessels. The vessels drain tissue fluid from all the major organs of the body, including the skin, and from all four limbs. These vessels pass through lymph nodes on their way to empty their contents into major veins at the base of the neck and within the abdomen.

The lymph nodes are clusters of specialized cells that serve to filter the lymph fluid. In this capacity, they trap foreign substances such as viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, as well as any other encountered debris. For example, the examination of lymph nodes form people who live in cities typically detects gritty, dark material, which is not present in the lymph nodes of people who live in rural settings. This is because the lymph nodes of the city dweller have received fluid from the lungs, which contain debris from polluted city air.

Another component of the lymphatic system are lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are cells of the immune system. They are produced within bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen, and circulate throughout the body in both blood and lymph fluid. These cells work to identify and rid the body of any invaders that threaten health.

Still another component of the lymphatic system are clusters of scavenger-like immune cells. These exist in major organs, and provide immune surveillance on location. These include the tonsils and adenoids in the throat/pharynx, Kupffer cells in the liver, Peyer's patches in the intestine, and other specialized immune cells stationed in the lungs and the brain.


Hodgkin's Disease - Cancer [next]

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