Under aerobic conditions every respiring cell in the human body normally consumes oxygen to burn food and produce stoichiometric quantities of water which dissolves carbon dioxide and less soluble cell products. The effluent water and solutes appear in the form of lymph in the interstices between cells. The lymph effluent from all respiring cells flows to become the circulating lymph and blood plasma which coordinately sustain a steady state of homeostasis throughout the internal milieu. As a result, every living cell served by the vascular system has equal opportunity to partake of water and solutes emanating from or absorbed by remaining cells. Solute quantities available depend on cell location, regional plasma flow, local vascular permeability, molecular size, configuration, solubility and concentration, as well as avid cell receptors.

Proportional to oxygen consumption, organized lymph glands develop in environments of relatively high oxygen tension around regional arteries to filter and process lymph coming from regional cells, and to produce effluent lymph rich in soluble globulins extruded by local mononuclear cells (especially macrophages, plasmacytes, lymphocytes), along with suspended small cytoplasm-poor lymphocytes. In turn, such dissolved globulins and remarkably motile small lymphocytes help feed, regulate growth and provide immunity to remaining cells. The lymph effluent from lymph glands and residua from capillary filtrates, along with newly absorbed solvent water, join the blood circulation during pulmonary inspiration in volumes proportional to the volume of air inspired with each breath.


How to Cite: Shields, J. (1992) “LYMPH, LYMPH GLANDS, AND HOMEOSTASIS”, Lymphology. 25(4).