Send to

Choose Destination
J Biomech Eng. 2003 Jun;125(3):407-14.

A model for mechanics of primary lymphatic valves.

Author information

Department of Bioengineering, Whitaker Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0412, USA.


Recent experimental evidence indicates that lymphatics have two valve systems, a set of primary valves in the wall of the endothelial cells of initial lymphatics and a secondary valve system in the lumen of the lymphatics. While the intralymphatic secondary valves are well described, no analysis of the primary valves is available. We propose a model for primary lymphatics valves at the junctions between lymphatic endothelial cells. The model consists of two overlapping endothelial extensions at a cell junction in the initial lymphatics. One cell extension is firmly attached to the adjacent connective tissue while the other cell extension is not attached to the interstitial collagen. It is free to bend into the lumen of the lymphatic when the lymphatic pressure falls below the adjacent interstitial fluid pressure. Thereby the cell junction opens a gap permitting entry of interstitial fluid into the lymphatic lumen. When the lymphatic fluid pressure rises above the adjacent interstitial fluid pressure, the endothelial extensions contact each other and the junction is closed preventing fluid reflow into the interstitial space. The model illustrates the mechanics of valve action and provides the first time a rational analysis of the mechanisms underlying fluid collection in the initial lymphatics and lymph transport in the microcirculation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center