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Human Body

32 lymPH PAtrol apprehension of miscreants Like the sea, extracellular fluid contains flotsam and jetsam, so you have a lymphatic tree, to soak up the overflow and detritus from around cells, and screen it for undesirables. Pure, filtered lymph is finally delivered back to the great veins near the heart. White blood cells are generated from the same stem cells as red cells, as are platelets, which plug any gaps in vessel walls. White cells run your immune system, and dont stay in the blood, but venture out, looking for trouble in the lymphoid network. Where you touch the outer world is where grit and microbes get in, so gut, lung, and skin teem with colonies of lymphoid tissues. Here, various sorts of white cells come for brief or long stays, and messages flurry between them anywhere they gather, in order to coordinate activity, and alert each other to damaging intruders. The most mobile of all cells is the lymphocyte, which squeezes through gaps it makes between capillary cells, gropes around in tissues, sampling forms see over, then crawls into the blindended lymph ductules, to communicate its findings to other white cells. Lymphocytes stop off and collaborate in nodes along this tree. Swollen lymph nodes glands are only doing their job, packed full of lymphocytes, macrophages, and other types of white cell. Macrophages evolved from amoebae, and engulf and digest things. Some innately recognise things like soot, others eat anything dubious looking, and show chewed up bits of it to lymphocytes, whose verdict on their potential hostility will inform other white cells to destroy and recycle whatever needs eliminating. 33
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