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Lymph capillary

Synonym: incipient lymph vessel, lymph channel
German: Lymphkapillaren

1 Definition

Lymph capilllaries are the finest, smallest branches of the lymphatic vessels. They run through nearly all body tissues. Their function is about absorbing the intercellular fluid and transporting it in the form of lymph to larger lymphatic vessels.

2 Histology

Lymph capillaries are built out of a single cellular layer of endothelial cells, which overlap each other like roof tiles. This principle of construction enables by the forming of endothelial pores and slits a spontaneous ability of opening as well as closing capillary walls. Moreover lymph capillaries are not surrounded by any kind of basement membrane, that is to say that interecellular fluids as well as contained proteins and cells can be taken up barrier-free out of the tissues.

3 Physiology

The wall of the lymph capillaries is very delicate. Accordingly, the vessels are very elastic and can collapse completely if they are empty. With increasing pressure - e.g. due to an occurring edema - the reticular fibers which are connected with the capillary walls and proceed into the tissue are tightened and thereby extending the lumen of the lymph capillaries. If due to increased filling of vessels the lymph capillaris' internal pressure rises as well, a reversal of pressure occurs. The previously opened endothelial gaps get pressed to one another and get closed in effect. The lymph gets drained by the increasing outer pressure (e.g. pump of the muscle) into the larger vessels which are provided with valves.

Specialties: Anatomy

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