While majority of the plasma that goes through capillary filtration will re-enter the bloodstream directly, about 10% of it is left behind in tissue as interstitial fluid. The lymph system recycles this 10% interstitial fluid and transports it back into the blood.
The lymph system also helps transport large lipids from the small intestine that cannot be absorbed through cardiovascular capillaries. Large lipids are absorbed by the lacteals, lymphatic capillaries, and are transported in lymph.
Lymph flows unidirectionally due to the unidirectional valves designed to prevent backflow.
The lymph nodes are filtration sites for lymph. Additionally, the lymph nodes are one of the main locations of the immune system response to pathogens.
White blood cells monitor lymph at the lymph nodes for pathogens. Antigen-presenting cells trigger the adaptive immune response at lymph nodes if a pathogen is encountered.
Lymph vessels drain into lymph ducts, which merge with veins and recycle plasma into the bloodstream.
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