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The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system of our body consists of specialized vessels that filter blood from pathogenic agents that can bring harm to the healthy cells of our body and also maintains fluid homeostasis by preventing the build up of fluid within our tissues. Every capillary system contains a nearby lymph vessel that drains the 10% fluid that remains in the interstitial region following the exchange of nutrients and wastes across the capillary. Once this fluid enters the lymph vessel, the fluid (now called lymph) travels along these lymph vessels and eventually is returned back to the circulatory system through the thoracic duct (that connects with the left subclavian vein) and the right lymphatic duct (which connects with the right subclavian vein). Along these lymph vessels are small masses of tissue called lymph nodes. These lymph nodes contain white blood cells such as plasma cells and macrophages. These plasma cells can react with antigens on incoming dendritic cells and begin producing antibodies while macrophages can engulf any pathogenic agent that they come across. In this way, the lymphatic system acts to filter the lymph that eventually returns into the blood.
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