What are the main organs of the lymphatic system and what are their functions?
The organs of the lymphatic system are the tonsils, spleen,
thymus gland, vermiform appendix and Peyer’s patches.
There are three tonsils. the palatine, the pharyngeal and the lingual. these form a protective ring of reticulo-endothelial cells against harmful microorganisms that might enter the nose or oral cavity. They are more functional in children. As we age, the tonsils decrease in size and may even disappear in some individuals.
The spleen is oval in shape and is the single largest mass of lymphatic tissue in the body. It is found in the left upper corner of the abdominal cavity. It filters blood and phagocytizes bacteria and worn-out platelets and red blood cells. This action releases hemoglobin to be recycled. It also produces lymphocytes and plasma cells. The spleen stores blood and functions as a blood
reservoir. During a hemorrhage, the spleen releases blood into the blood circulation route.
The thymus gland is a bilobed mass of tissue located in the mediastinum along the trachea behind the sternum. It is involved in immunity. The thymus is a site for lymphocyte production and maturation. The thymus helps develop T lymphocytes in the fetus
and in infants for a few months after birth.
Peyer’s patches (also known as aggregated lymphatic follicles) are found in the wall of the small intestine. They resemble tonsils. Their macrophages destroy bacteria.
The vermiform appendix is also involved in immunity. After birth, lymphoid tissue begins to develop in the appendix, reaching peak amounts around the age of 25. The appendix assists in the maturing of B lymphocytes and produces immunoglobulin A (Ig A) antibodies.
The lymphatic system : Organs, lymph nodes and lymph vessels.