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Lymphoid system

German: Lymphgefäßsystem

1 Definition

The lymphoid system consists of different kinds of lymph vessels which mainly drain lymph unidirectionally from peripheral tissues back into the circulatory system.

This lymphoid system is the circulatory part of the lymphatic system.

2 Anatomy

2.1 Lymph trunks (Trunci lympathici)

All lymphatic vessels combine to (mostly) paired lymph trunks:

  • The right and left lumbar lymph trunks (Trunci lumbales dexter and sinister) drain lymph from the lower limb and pelvis.
  • The right and left intestinal lymph trunks (Trunci interstinales dexter and sinister) collect lymph from the bowel and the unpaired abdominal viscera.
  • The right and left bronchomediastinal lymph trunks (Trunci bronchomediastinales dexter and sinister) drain lymph from right and left thorax.
  • The right and left subclavian lymph trunks (Trunci subclavii dexter and sinister) drain lymph from the upper limbs.
  • The left and right jugular lymph trunks (Trunci jugularis sinister and dexter) collect lymph from the head and neck.

2.2 Lymph ducts

The lymph trunks mentioned above combine to two lymph ducts. The thoracic duct (Ductus thoracicus) consists of:

  • Truncus jugularis sinister
  • Truncus subclavius sinister
  • Truncus bronchomediastinalis sinister
  • Truncus intestinales dexter and sinister
  • Truncus lumbalis dexter and sinister

The right lymph duct consists of the other lymph trunks:

  • Truncus jugularis dexter
  • Truncus bronchomediastinalis dexter
  • Truncus subclavius dexter

In other words: the thoracic duct collects all lymph of the lower limbs and the upper left side of the body and the right lymph duct drains lymph of the upper right side of the body.

The lymph ducts empty into the juncture of the right (for right lymph duct) or left (thoracic duct) subclavian vein and internal jugular vein. There the lymph which contains (among others) lymphocytes, enters the circulatory system.

3 Physiology

The normal capacity of transport of the lymphoid system is quite small in comparison to the venous system. It is about two to four liter of fluid per day. Therefore the lymphoid system transports roundabout 10% of the into the tissues filtrated fluid.

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