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lymph nodes

The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is composed of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and organs. The functions of this system include the absorbtion of excess fluid and its return to the blood stream, absorption of fat (in the villi of the small intestine) and the immune system function.

Lymph vessels are closely associated with the circulatory system vessels. Larger lymph vessels are similar to veins. Lymph capillaries are scatted throughout the body. Contraction of skeletal muscle causes movement of the lymph fluid through valves.

Lymph organs include the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus. Bone marrow contains tissue that produces lymphocytes. B-lymphocytes (B-cells) mature in the bone marrow. T-lymphocytes (T-cells) mature in the thymus gland. Other blood cells such as monocytes and leukocytes are produced in the bone marrow. Lymph nodes are areas of concentrated lymphocytes and macrophages along the lymphatic veins. The spleen is similar to the lymph node except that it is larger and filled with blood. The spleen serves as a reservoir for blood, and filters or purifies the blood and lymph fluid that flows through it. If the spleen is damaged or removed, the individual is more susceptible to infections. The thymus secretes a hormone, thymosin, that causes pre-T-cells to mature (in the thymus) into T-cells.

The Lymphatic System and Immunity


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