Although words like lymphocyte, lymph node, lymph, and lymphatic vessels are common in daily medical activities, Lymphology has always been considered as a sort of younger sister to Angiology or Phlebology. Also, apart from few pioneer physicians, it has never been investigated as a discreet, well identified area of research.

Therefore, the following “Dictionary” aims to be a sort of metaphorical “window” on the extensive and still poorly explored world of lymphatic diseases, as well as to provide some useful, basic information for a correct diagnosis of patients affected by lymphatic-lymph node disorders.

Questo “Dizionario” vuole, quindi, rappresentare una sorta di metaforica “finestra” sul vasto ed ancora poco inesplorato mondo della patologia linfatica e fornire utili elementi di conoscenza di base per una corretta diagnosi e gestione del paziente affetto da alterazioni del sistema linfatico-linfonoidale.


Protein molecules, produced by eukaryotic organisms, capable, through different mechanisms, of stimulating growth and differentiation of various tissues. VEGF-C or VEGF-2 (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-C or -2) have been identified as specific lymphatic endothelium growth factors. They exert their action by means of endothelial cell-specific receptor tyrosine-kinases, such as flk1/kDR, flt1, and flt4. Several experimental studies are currently under way to reproduce lymphangiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo, in order to better understand any tumor metastasis implications and their role in lymphatic-lymph node dysplasia.


The right counterpart of the thoracic duct, which, as is well known, empties at the level of the left subclavian-jugular angle, at the confluence of the left subclavian vein and the left internal jugular vein. In the majority of people, this vessel has a diameter of less than 5 mm and, often, it is totally absent. However, in a limited number of people, it may be even bigger than the thoracic duct, in which cases it may offset any thoracic duct insufficiency.


Most clinical pictures with a main “gravitational reflux” component are due to lymphatic and chyliferous vessel dysplasia, with wall-valvular and/or lymph node insufficiency. Sometimes, these diseases may be iatrogenic, for example due to the ligature of the thoracic duct or to lesions of retroperitoneal lymphatic and chyliferous vessels. These complex clinical conditions, that may present with chyloperitoneum, chyledema of the lower limbs or of external genitalia, chyluria, chylothorax, chylometrorrhea, chylous effusion in a joint, in various mutual associations, often require complex diagnostic and therapeutical processes.


European Group of Lymphology. The official journal of this Scientific Association is the “European Journal of Lymphology and Related Problems” (EJLRP).

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