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Lymphatic Drainage of tongue

  1. May 5, 2013 #1
    Why the tongue though small has such extensive lymphatic drainage?
    Is it just developmental relation? Or is it that tongue has high exposure to immunogenic substances(which I feel is not the case)???
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2013 #2
    I'm going to go with the exposure theory
  4. May 10, 2013 #3
    Is it that the lymphatic system has to do with drainage of excess fluid from tissue and the tongue has a high blood flow? The lymph nodes are infection control entities within the lymphatic drainage system but the major function of the system is fluid drainage.
  5. May 12, 2013 #4
    Exposure to pathogens

    The most lymphatically well seved area is probably the gut with it's Peyer's patches.
    As we are as Leonard Cohen said, ''But the brief elaboration of a tube'', our insides are outside, swarming with good and 'bad' bacteria, fungi etc.
    In the oral cavity there is the added danger of minor cuts, biting ones tongue for instance!:smile:
  6. May 12, 2013 #5
    But think of in terms of exposure time.......... we usually spend a few minutss to eat and a few hours to digest........... so wont the amount of time that intestinal peyers patches and other regions, say the stomach, stay exposed to the food substance be greater? Hence wouldnt it require better drainage than tongue?
  7. May 12, 2013 #6
    The GI tract in general is richly endowed with lymph vessels. The tongue is part of the GI tract. The tongue has a rich blood circulation and is a very dynamic muscular organ. The amount of interstitial fluid produced is a function of blood circulation and one purpose of the lymph system is to drain excess interstitial fluid and eventually return it the blood stream. The dense muscular tissue of the tongue allows little slack for fluid accumulation. Such fluid accumulation could cause the tongue to swell, stiffen and thus impair its function and possibly block the airway.
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  8. May 22, 2013 #7
    This along with exposure theory seems like the most likely explanation! Thank you!
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