Significance of Protein in Edema Fluids

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The partition of extracellular fluid between plasma and tissues is largely regulated by the balance of hydrostatic and colloid osmotic (oncotic) pressure gradients across capillary membranes. Normally a small excess of tissue fluid forms, enters lymphatics and returns to the bloodstream. When an imbalance develops between the rate of lymph production and the rate of its return to the systemic venous circulation, edema.or effusion appear. Accumulation of edema, however, is not uniform in amount and composition throughout the body and depend, on the forces governing capillary filtration, regional differences in capillary permeability, lymph flow and the specific factor tending to perpetuate the edema. Obstruction to lymph return or disruption of capillary integrity (e.g. I infiltrating cancer or inflammation) promote effusion or edema high in protein content (so-called "exudate"). On the other hand, increased hydrostatic pressure in semipermeable capillaries promotes excess lymph and ultimately edema or effusion low in protein content (so-called "transudate"). The hepatic sinusoid is unique in its free permeability to plasma protein. Hepatic venous outflow obstruction, accordingly, produces excess hepatic and thoracic duct lymphi and eventually ascitic fluid, high in protein.


How to Cite: Witte, C. & Witte, M. (1971) “Significance of Protein in Edema Fluids”, Lymphology. 4(2).