Page:EB1911 - Volume 17.djvu/178

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163
LYMPH AND LYMPH FORMATION


apparently the amounts of Ca, Mg and P295 are rather less than in serum. Urea is present to the same amount as in blood. If the lymph be collected after a meal, one important alteration is to be found. It now contains an abundance of fat in a very fine state of subdivision, if fat be' present in the food. The concentrations of protein and dextrose are not altered during the absorption of these substances. The Signijicance of Lymph.-In considering the significance and use of lymph we must note in the first place that it forms an alternative medium for the removal of water, dissolved materials, formed elements or particles away from the tissues. All materials supplied to a tissue are brought to it by the blood, and are discharged from the blood through the capillary wall. They thus come to lie in the tissue spaces between the cells, and from this supply of material in a dissolved state the cells take up the food they require. In the opposite direction the cell discharges its waste products into this same tissue fluid. The removal of material from the tissue fluid may be effected either by its being absorbed through the capillary wall into the bloodstream, or by sending it into the lymphatic vessels and thus away from the tissue. From this point of view the lymphatics may be looked upon in a sense as a drainage system of the tissues. Again, besides discharging fluid and dissolved material into the tissue spaces, the blood may also discharge leukocytes, and under many conditions this emigration of leukocytes may be very extensive. These also may leave the tissue space by the path of the lymph channels. Moreover, the tissues are at any time liable to be injured, and the injury as well as damaging many cells may cause rupture of capillaries (as in bruising) with escape of red blood-cells into the tissue spaces. If this occurs we know that the damaged cells are destroyed and their débris removed either by digestion by leukocytes or by disintegration and solution. The damage of a tissue also commonly involves an infection of the damaged area with living micro-organisms, and these are at once admitted to the tissue spaces. .Hence we see that the lymphatics may be provided as channels by which a variety of substances can be removed from the tissue spaces. The question at once arises, is the lymph channel at all times open to receive the materials present in the tissue space? If such be the case, lymph is simply tissue fluid, and anything that modifies the constitution or amount of the tissue fluid should in like proportion lead to a variation in the amount and constitution of the lymph. But if the lymph capillary is a closed tubule at its commencement this does not follow. From these considerations we see that in the first instance the whole problem of lymph formation is intimately bound up with the study of the interchanges of material between the blood and the various tissue cells. The exchange of material between blood and tissue cell may possibly be determined in one or both of two ways. Either it may result from changes taking place within the tissue cell, or the tissue cell remaining passive material may be sent to or withdrawn from it owing to a change occurring either in the composition of the blood or to a change in the circulation through the tissue. Let us take first the results follovsdng increased activity of a tissue. We know that increased activity of a tissue means increased chemical change within the tissue and the production of new chemical bodies of small molecular size (e. g. water, carbonic acid, &c.). The production of these metabolites means the destruction of some of the tissue substance, and to make good this loss the tissue must take a further amount of material from the blood. We know that this takes place, and moreover that the waste products resulting from activity are ultimately removed. The question then becomes: When does this restoration take place, and what is the intermediate state of the tissue? We know that increased activity is always accompanied by an increase in the blood supply, indicating a greater supply of nutritive material, though it may be that the increased supply required at the actual time of activity is oxygen only. Simultaneously the opportunity for a more rapid removal of the waste products is provided. We have to inquire then: Does this increased vascularity necessarily mean an increased outpouring of water and dissolved material into the tissues, for this might follow directly from the greater filling of the capillaries, or from the increased attracting power of the tissues to water (osmotic effect) due to the sudden production of substances of small molecular size within the tissue? The other possibility is that the increased volume of blood sent to the tissue is for the sole purpose of giving it a more rapid supply of oxygen, and that the ordinary normal blood-supply would amply suffice for renewing the chemical material used up during activity. Tissues undoubtedly vary among themselves in the amount of water and other materials they take from the blood when thrown into activity, and their behaviour in this respect depends upon the work they are called upon to perform. We must discriminate 'between the substance required by and consumed by the tissue, the chemical food which on combustion yields the energy by which the tissue performs work, and, on the other hand, the substance taken from the blood and either with or without further elaboration discharged from the tissue (as, for instance, in the process of secretion). The tissue contains in itself a store of food amply sufficient to enable it to continue working for a long time after its blood-supply has been stopped, and everything indicates that the supply of chemical energy to the tissue may be slow or even withheld for a considerable time. Hence we are led to conclude that the increased flow of blood sent to a tissue when it is thrown into activity is first and foremost to give that tissue an increased oxygen supply; secondly, to remove waste carbonic acid; thirdly, and only in the case of some tissues, to provide water salts and other materials for the outpouring of a secretion, as an instance of which we may take the kidney as a type. Hence there is no need to suppose that an extensive accumulation of fluid and dissolved substances takes place within a tissue when it becomes active. This must be an accumulation which would lead to an engorgement of the tissue spaces and then to a discharge of fluid along the lymph channels. To enable us to determine the various points just raised we must know whether an increased blood-supply to a tissue necessarily means an increased exudation of fluid into the tissue spaces, and moreover we must study the exchange of fluid between a tissue and the blood under as varied a series of conditions as possible, subsequently examining whether exchange of fluid and other substances between the tissue and the blood necessarily determines quantitatively the amount of lymph flowing from the tissue. Hence we will first study the exchanges between the blood and a tissue, and then turn our attention to the lymph-flow from the tissues.

The Exchanges of Fluids and dissolved Substances between the Blood and the Tissues.-Numerous experiments have been performed in studying the conditions under which fluid passes into the tissues and tissue spaces—or in the reverse direction into the blood. We may group them into (1) conditions during which the total volume of circulating fluid is increased or decreased; (2) conditions in which the character of the blood is altered, e.g. it is made more watery or its saline concentration is altered; (3) conditions in which the blood-supply to the part is altered; (4) conditions in which the physical character of the capillary wall is altered. 1. The total volume of blood in an animal has been increased among other ways by the transfusion of the blood of one animal directly into the veins of a second of the same species. It is found that within a very short time a large percentage of the plasma has been discharged from the blood-vessels. It has been sent into the tissues, notably the muscles, and it may be noted in passing without producing any increase in the lymph-flow from these vessels. An analogous experiment, but one which avoids the fallacy introduced by injecting a second animal's blood, has been performed by driving all the blood out of one hind limb by applying a rubber bandage tightly round it from the foot upwards. This increases the volume of blood circulating in the rest of the body, and again a rapid disappearance of the fluid part of the blood from the vessels was observed-the fluid being mainly sent into the muscles, as was indicated by showing that the specific gravity of the muscles fell during the experiment. The experiments converse to these have also been studied.