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The Anatomy and Histology

of the Spleen and Lymphatic


System

Dr. Bruce Burns


Dept of Pathology and
Laboratory Medicine
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l’Univeristé d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa 16:10
16:10

Why do we have a lymphatic


Features of the lymphatic capillary
system?
● Acts as a “sponge” to resorb fluid ● Porous “blind ended” channels
(lymph) from the interstitial space > present in the interstitium of most
prevents edema organs (not brain)
● transports foreign substances to ● often collapsed, very difficult to see
regional lymph nodes > immune unless injected
response ● lined by endothelium
● larger lymphatics may have valves
and smooth muscle coats
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Main thoracic/abdominal Lymphatics of head, neck and


lymphatic vessels axilla
•Cysterna chyli in abdomen receives •Scalp drains to cervical nodes
lymph from intestinal lymphatics -
important for fat absorption •Oral cavity/throat drains to
cervical nodes
•Thoracic duct carries lymph from lower
limbs and abdomen, emptying into venous •breast and arm drain to
blood system at junction of left jugular and axillary nodes
subclavian veins

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Leg Lymphatic Drainage Lung lymphatics

•Drain to superficial inguinal lymph •Lymphatics follow


nodes bronchovascular
structures draining
•no other significant lymph nodes in leg
centrally
distal to inguinals
•surround alveoli
•meshwork on
pleural surface

Lymphatics
in yellow

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What are the major lymphoid Basic Anatomy of a Lymph Node


organs ?
● lymph nodes
● extranodal lymphoid tissue -
– tonsils
– spleen
– mucosal associated lymphoid tissue
(MALT)
● thymus

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Lymph Node Histology - low power Sinus histiocytes

Benign (reactive) 1.8 cm


follicular
hyperplasia of Mantle zone B-cells
lymph node

Germinal Center

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B and T cell distribution in lymph nodes
Antigen Presenting cells

● B-cell zone (Germinal Center)


B cells in
follicle – follicular dendritic cells
● T-cell zone (Paracortex)
– interdigitating reticulum cells
● both present antigen in the context
of self-MHC molecules

T cells in
paracortex 13 14
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Clinical importance of lymphatic


Functions of the Spleen
drainage and lymph node locations
● “organof mystery” in antiquity
● If blocked lymphedema develops
● Red Pulp- filtering function
– occurs after some surgery/radiation on
lymph nodes – RBC’s “boot camp” - must shape up
• lose nuclear remnants (Howell-Jolly
● anatomy of lymphatic drainage is bodies) Pitting
consistent, metastases from organs • able to deform through sinusoidal wall
follow typical pattern of spread and endothelium Culling
● inflamed (tender) nodes suggest – macrophages filter and destroy foreign
infection in area of drainage material in blood Macrophage activation
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Spleen - Gross Anatomy


Functions of the Spleen - 2

● White pulp - immunologic functions


– trapping and processing of antigens
– the major site of antibody synthesis
– key role in removal of encapsulated
bacteria (Strep pneumo)

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Microanatomy of the Spleen
Spleen - Gross features

•“normal” weight = 50-250 GMS


•Splenic artery from celiac trunk,
courses along length of pancreas
•Splenic vein returns to IVC

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Splenic Red Pulp Architecture Histologic features of the Spleen


•Arterial blood empties
into splenic cords of
Billroth
•blood cells must squeeze
through endothelial cells
to get back into sinus
circulation
White
Pulp

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Red Pulp
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Red Pulp Histology Splenic sinus basement


membrane - “ring fibers”

Cords
Sinus Ring
fibers

Sinus
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White Pulp Histology
Splenic Oddities

Mantle zone ● Asplenia - congenital absence, often


associated with cardiac abnormalities
● Accessory spleens - small deposits of

Germinal
“normal” spleen in abdomen
center ● splenosis - post-traumatic seeding of
“baby spleens” in the peritoneum
following splenic rupture

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Marginal zone / University of Ottawa
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