Scientists 'rediscover' the lymphatic system after hundreds of years

Thursday, December 20, 2012 by: Brad Chase
Tags: lymphatic system, human body, healer

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(NaturalNews) Recently, there appears to have been a renaissance in allopathy regarding the lymphatic system. While many individuals in the health sciences rely on blood tests to determine patient health, current research suggests that healthcare providers also look more deeply into the lymphatic system for clues.

Genes and Development gives painstaking detail about this overlooked system in the human body. The article describes what the function of the lymphatic system is and what to look for.

In 2012, researchers at USC made this statement: "... the lymphatic system is no less essential than the blood circulatory system for human health and well-being."

The lymphatic system must be considered the other, and not secondary, vascular system in the human physiology.

What is the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system parallels the cardiovascular system, which carries blood throughout the body. Lymph exists in the spaces between most cells and tissues in the body. The capillaries of the lymphatic system are only one cell thick, making it very easy for both beneficial and toxic material to cross this thin barrier.

These capillaries carry lymph into larger lymph vessels, which connect to the lymph nodes. The tonsils, spleen, and thymus are also a part of the lymphatic system. Lymph is not contained in the epidermis, nails, hair, retina, cartilage, and the brain.

Lymph is dense with proteins, which scientists believe attract white blood cells to the lymphatic system. Blood does not contain these proteins. There are also a number of genes which are expressed in the lymphatic system which are not a part of the cardiovascular system.

However, a number of markers for blood are present in the lymphatic system during development of an embryo, which indicates that the two systems are not mutually exclusive.

The lymphatic system may be the true body healer

The lymphatic system is essential for both tissue repair and inflammation in most organs of the human body.

Any dysfunction in the lymphatic system, whether genetic or developed later, results in blockage in the flow of lymph. Dysfunction also causes an impaired immune system, providing an opportunity for malignant tumors to settle into the lymph nodes.

During tissue repair, lymphatic cells remain separated from blood cells. This can easily be seen in the healing of a blister, but scientists do not know how this happens. They have identified several molecules believed to be responsible for tissue regeneration, but scientists are unclear about the exact process that occurs during tissue repair.

Scientists are much clearer about how lymphedema works. Lymphedema is caused either by a poorly working lymphatic system, blockage, or hypoplasia - an incomplete development of the lymphatic system.

Genetics are at play, at least in part. However, most cases of lymphedema are associated with malfunctions in other organ systems as well.

The lymphatic system may provide the answer to cancer

The lymphatic system serves as the conductor for the spread of tumor cells into lymph nodes. Cancer located in the lymph nodes plays a very big role in determining the prognosis of cancer patients and whether or not a cancer patient should receive chemotherapy after surgery.

As important as the lymphatic system is in the progression of cancer, very little is understood about how tumor cells access the lymphatic system and spread.

In fact, some researchers suggest that once tumor cells take over the lymphatic system, the high interstitial pressure in most cancers cause the lymphatic system to practically shut down. Malignant tumor cells literally take advantage of the immune response mechanisms, delivering cancer rather than regenerative molecules.


Genes and Development. CHS, "The rediscovery of the lymphatic system: old and new insights into the development and biological function of the lymphatic vasculature." Guillermo Oliver and Michael Detmar

CHS, "The New Era of the Lymphatic System: No Longer Secondary to the Blood Vascular System," by Inho Coi, et al., Lymphology. September 2004; 37(3): 98-106. "The lymphatic vascular system: secondary or primary?"J Wilting, et al., Blood. May 2010; 115(19):3997-4005. "Novel function for blood platelets and podoplanin in developmental separation of blood and lymphatic circulation." P Uhrin, et al.

About the author:
Brad Chase is the President of His website provides articles and natural remedies to help people solve their health concerns.

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