The Human Body

Lymph

Lymph, common name for the fluid carried in the lymphatic system. Lymph is diluted blood plasma containing large numbers of white blood cells, especially lymphocytes, and occasionally a few red blood cells. Because of the number of living cells it contains, lymph is classified as a fluid tissue.

Lymph diffuses into and is absorbed by the lymphatic capillaries from the spaces between the various cells constituting the tissues. In these spaces lymph is known as tissue fluid, plasma that has permeated the blood capillary walls and surrounded the cells to bring them nutriment and to remove their waste substances. The lymph contained in the lacteals of the small intestine is known as chyle.

The synovial fluid that lubricates joints is almost identical with lymph, as is the serous fluid found in the body and pleural cavities. The fluid contained within the semicircular canals of the ear, although known as endolymph, is not true lymph.