The lymphatic system is not only a part of the circulatory system, but it also plays a significant role in the immune system. Lymph nodes are small somewhat oval shaped structures of the lymphatic system. These small structures are important because they are centers of antigen presentation, as well as lymphocyte activation, differentiation and proliferation. Lymph nodes are an important part of the immune system as they not only generate mature, antigen-primed B and T cells, but they also function to filter out particles such as microbes from lymph through the action of a number of phagocytic macrophages.
Lymph nodes can be found distributed all over the body, with the greatest number lying close to the viscera. Generally, lymph nodes are especially numerous in areas such as the neck, the mesenteries in the abdomen, the posterior abdominal wall, proximal regions of the limbs, the pelvis and the mediastinum. In the region of the thorax, lymph nodes can divided into parietal and visceral lymph nodes, such as the pulmonary lymph nodes.
The pulmonary lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system of the lungs, which is comprised of a large, complex, freely connecting lymphatic vessels. The pulmonary lymph nodes are found along the lobar bronchi, within the parenchyma of the lungs, and they receive the lymph that is formed within the lungs.
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