The Inflammatory and Immune Response Systems, Part IV

photo courtesy of

The Three Systems Involved in Immunity

The Inflammatory and Immune Systems are intertwined but more easily understood separated out. The groundwork was laid inParts I, II, and III and now we’ve arrived at the last, important piece of general knowledge that will help you in your health decisions.

The Lymph System

The immune system carries out part of its defense with components that move in a continual flow in the circulatory system (blood/hematic), and the lymphatic system. These cellular components are on the alert and ready to destroy foreign invaders should they be encountered.

The lymph system is a close relative of the immune system, producing immune players and assisting delivery of these cells through movement.

The lymph system has several functions: it drains specific wastes (extra protein in the interstitial fluid), transports fats, produces lymphocytes, and develops immunities. In Part II and Part III of this series, non-specific and specific defense was reviewed, respectively, with a review of the types of cells in each.

Anatomically, the lymph system is made up of vessels and nodes that cover almost all of the body. This massive circulation of the lymph system is similar to and closely follows the (blood/hematic) circulatory system.

photo courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

The Organs, Tissue, and Vessels of the Immune System

Bone marrow, several organs (the spleen, tonsils, and thymus gland) are also structures of the lymph system. Immune cells are produced and grow to maturity in the bone marrow and thymus gland. The remainder of lymphatic tissue and organs trap and destroy antigens: the lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils, appendix, Peyer’s patch in the intestines, and the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems.

Most lymph is delivered through the muscle movement, pumping material through valves, into vessels, large and small.

Proper breathing is another way to make lymph move well.This is why exercises that promote even breathing such as yoga and qigong have such excellent health benefits.

Acupuncture has a stimulating effect that promotes local movement that activates the immune response. This effect is one of several reasons why acupuncture is a great preventative medicine.

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