The biomechanics of lymph node swelling


At times when we fall sick, barely noticeable lumps can be felt under our skin. These lumps are our swollen lymph nodes, and they indicate the body’s immune system reacting to infectious agents. Historically, while we were trying to figure out the immune system and its fundamental cellular components, the complexity and dynamicity of lymph nodes got sidetracked. However, researchers in the field of vascular biology and immunology have recently employed considerable efforts to further our understanding of secondary lymphoid organs like lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes are fibrous yet spongy capsules, situated across ~400 locations in our body. Lymph nodes consist of compartments like the cortex (contains follicles where B cell activation and maturation take place), the paracortex (rich in T cells and dendritic cells), and the medulla (from where plasma cells produce antibodies to be released into the blood). There is always a constant flow of immune cells through…

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