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 Structure and Function of the Lymphatic System


Structure and function

  • Peripheral lymphatic system.
  • Lymph nodes.
  • Central lymphatic system.
  • Cellular components of the lymphatic system.


  • Lymph formation.
  • Lymph flow.

Lymph visualization

  • Lymphangiography.
  • Lymphoscintigraphy.


Swartz MA. The physiology of the lymphatic system. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2001;50:3-20.

This paper presents an overview of the anatomy, physiology, and biology of the lymphatic system specifically relevant to lymphatic drug delivery. It briefly reviews the classic fluid and solute transport literature, and also examines the current research in lymphatic endothelial cell biology and tumor metastasis in the lymphatics because of the increasing potential for targeted delivery of immunomodulators, chemotherapeutics, and genetic material to specific lymph nodes.

Sallustio G, Giangregorio C, Cannas L, Vricella D, Celi G, Rinaldi P. Lymphatic system: morphofunctional considerations. Rays 2000;25:419-427.

This article reviews current knowledge of lymph node cellular architecture as well as of the structure and course of lymphatic vessels. The function of the lymphatic system is also summarized along with its response to pathologic processes.

Witte CL, Witte MH. Diagnostic and interventional imaging of lymphatic disorders. Int Angiol 1999; 18:25 -30.

Recent developments in diagnostic and interventional imaging of lymphatic disorders are reviewed. Several imaging techniques are presented, including lymphangioscintigraphy, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasonography, fluorescent microangiolymphography, and intradermal brominated fluorocarbon. The use of these techniques in the treatment of certain lymphatic disorders is also discussed.

Szuba A, Rockson SG. Lymphedema: anatomy, physiology and pathogenesis. Vasc Med 1997;2:321-326.

The authors review the anatomy and physiology of the lymphatic system. The current understanding of the pathophysiology of lymphedema is also discussed, including its congenital and acquired causes, pathophysiologic consequences and clinical results.

Stewart KC, Lyster DM. Interstitial lymphoscintigraphy for lymphatic mapping in surgical practice and research. J Invest Surg 1997;10:249-262.

The development of lymphoscintigraphy for surgical research and practice is reviewed. The characteristics of the radiopharmaceutical used, the technique of injection and imaging as well as the most common applications of these nuclear medicine techniques is discussed.

Posted June 2010