Lacteal

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Lacteal'

Lacteal Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    lacteal adj : relating to or consisting of or producing or resembling milk; "lacteal fluids"; "lacteal organs" n : any of the lymphatic vessels that convey chyle from the small intestine to the thoracic duct
Lacteal Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Lacteal \Lac"te*al\, a. [L. lacteus milky, fr. lac, lactis, milk. Cf. Galaxy, Lettuce.]
  1. Pertaining to, or resembling, milk; milky; as, the lacteal fluid.
  2. (Anat. & Physiol.) Pertaining to, or containing, chyle; as, the lacteal vessels.
Lacteal Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Lacteal \Lac"te*al\, n. (Anat.) One of the lymphatic vessels which convey chyle from the small intestine through the mesenteric glands to the thoracic duct; a chyliferous vessel.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Lacteal'


A lacteal is a lymphatic capillary that absorbs dietary fats in the villi of the small intestine.

The combination of fat and lymph in the lacteals is milky in appearance and called chyle. Individual lacteals merge to form larger lymphatic vessels that transport the fats to the thoracic duct which empties into the left subclavian vein found under the collar bone.

At this point, the fats are in the bloodstream in the form of chylomicrons. Once in the blood, chylomicrons are subject to delipidation by lipoprotein lipase. Eventually, enough lipid has been lost and additional apolipoproteins gained, that the resulting particle (now referred to as a chylomicron remnant) can be taken up by the liver. From the liver, the fat released from chylomicron remnants can be re-exported to the blood as the triglyceride component of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL). VLDL, also subject to delipidation by vascular lipoprotein lipase, delivers fats to tissues throughout the body and, in particular, the released fatty acids can be stored in adipose cells as triglycerides. As triglycerides are lost from VLDL the lipoprotein particle becomes smaller and denser (since protein is denser than lipid) and ultimately becomes low density lipoprotein (LDL). A lot has been written about LDL because it is thought to be atherogenic.

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