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[L. lymphaticus]

1. Pert. to lymph and to the system of endothelial vessels that carry it.
2. An endothelial tube that carries lymph through lymph nodes and toward lymphatic collecting ducts. Lymphatics also provide pathways for the inter-tissue transport of lymph cells, bacteria, and tumor cells; lymphatics are the most common routes for metastases of carcinomas. Throughout the body, interstitial fluid volume is kept low by movement of excess fluid into lymph capillaries, and a significant increase of fluid movement into the interstitial space, e.g., from heart failure, or a decrease of fluid movement into the lymphatics, e.g., from surgical removal of lymph nodes and lymphatics, will lead to edema. Inside lymphatics, lymph is moved by contractions of muscle cells surrounding the lymph vessels and by secondary compressions from other muscles in the environment. In the embryo, lymphatics develop just after and alongside veins. Like veins, the larger lymphatics have walls consisting of three layers (the intima, media, and adventitia). The one-way, centripetal flow of lymph is maintained by valves. Lymphatics regenerate quickly after injury.
SYN: SEE: lymphatic vessel
SEE: lymphatic capillary
SEE: lymphatic capillary
SEE: lymphatic system

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