I read an argument that 1-3% of lymph is in peripheral blood. However, I am not sure if this lymph is about lymphocytes in peripheral blood; not lymph itself. Lymph gets exchanged between capillaries through Starling law powered by the heart and Frank-Starling mechanism. In this way, it makes sense that some lymph is leaking out from capillaries into the bolod.

Can lymph be in the peripheral blood?


Depends if your talking about interstitial fluid or lymph:

As per starling forces: the oncotic pressure of the late capillary plus hydrostatic pressure of interstitial space, would be higher than oncotic pressure of interstitium [though I dunno why since intertitial GAGs are very water hungry and they are responsible for the negative (hydrostatic?) pressures found in interstitium... Read lots of articles, still makes no sense to me] and hydrostatic pressure of the capillary... Thus there would be a net influx of interstitial fluid in the very ending part of the capillary, toward the venous side...

I say interstitial fluid, because it's not lymph yet since the interstitial fluid hasn't yet entered the adjacent lymph capillaries... if the interstitial fluid entered the lymph capillary then it would be stuck there, the mechanism of this one way flow is the junctions between the endothelial cells in these blind ended lymph capillary... These junctions which only opens up gaps between these endothelial cells when the interstitial pressure outside the lymph capillaries is higher than pressure inside the lymph capillaries...

The lymph then goes forward through lymphatic vessels/nodes because external pressure (pulsing of adjacent artery, contraction of adjacent skeletal muscle, changes in thoracic pressuring during breathing, etc) and there is little back flow because of valves (just like venous valves which prevent back flow in the low pressure venous system)... Ultimately the lymph returns by either thoracic duct (in the angle between left subclavian and left jugular vein) or right lymphatic duct (in the angle between right subclavian and right jugular vein)...

There are some sweet review articles from University of Bergen, Norway that go much more in depth on the physiology of interstitial fluid... Here is one of their more recent review articles: http://m.physrev.physiology.org/content/92/3/1005 it's free

IN SUMMARY: the starling forces bring interstitial fluid into the blood (the "peripheral part" right after the capillary)... The thoracic and right lymphatic duct drain lymph into the blood (I'm assuming this does not apply by your definition of peripheral, since this venous blood is about to be drained into the right atrium and is destined for the lungs)...

P.S. aqueous humor (in the eye), endolymph (cochlea aka inner ear) and CSF are also absorbed back into the blood... Also the brain has an interstitial fluid that is different from the CSF found in the subarachnoid spce of the meninges, i actually don't know how that drains... But anyway, the head is so special, I'm sure you weren't wondering about these specifics...


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