Lymphokinetic motion (flow of the lymph) due to:
1) Lymph flows down the pressure gradient.
2) Muscular and respiratory pumps push lymph forward due to function of the semilunar valves.
Other lymphoid tissue:
1. Lymph nodes: Lymph nodes are small encapsulated organs located along the pathway of lymphatic vessels. They vary from about 1 mm to 1 to 2 cm in diameter and are widely distributed throughout the body, with large concentrations occurring in the areas of convergence of lymph vessels. They serve as filters through which lymph percolates on its way to the blood. Antigen-activated lymphocytes differentiate and proliferate by cloning in the lymph nodes.
2. Diffuse Lymphatic Tissue and Lymphatic nodules: The alimentary canal, respiratory passages, and genitourinary tract are guarded by accumulations of lymphatic tissue that are not enclosed by a capsule (i.e. they are diffuse) and are found in connective tissue beneath the epithelial mucosa. These cells intercept foreign antigens and then travel to lymph nodes to undergo differentiation and proliferation.
Local concentrations of lymphocytes in these systems and other areas are called lymphatic nodules. In general these are single and random but are more concentrated in the GI tract in the ileum, appendix, cecum, and tonsils. These are collectively called the Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue (GALT). MALT (Mucosa Associated Lymphatic Tissue) includes these plus the diffuse lymph tissue in the respiratory tract.
3. The thymus: The thymus is where immature lymphocytes differentiate into T-lymphocytes. The thymus is fully formed and functional at birth. Characteristic features of thymic structure persist until about puberty, when lymphocyte processing and proliferation are dramatically reduced and eventually eliminated and the thymic tissue is largely replaced by adipose tissue.
The lymphocytes released by the thymus are carried to lymph nodes, spleen, and other lymphatic tissue where they form colonies. These colonies form the basis of T-lymphocyte proliferation in the specific immune response. T-lymphocytes survive for long periods and recirculate through lymphatic tissues.
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