Lymphoid organ, located in the left side of the abdomen behind the stomach. The spleen is the primary filtering element for the blood, and it is a storage site for red blood cells (erythrocytes) and platelets. It is one of four places where reticuloendothelial cells are found (see reticuloendothelial system). Two types of tissue, red pulp and white pulp, are intermixed. The white pulp is lymphoid tissue containing lymphocyte production centres. The red pulp is a network of channels filled with blood where most of the filtration occurs and is the major site of destruction of deteriorating erythrocytes and recycling of their hemoglobin. Both contain cells (see leukocyte) that remove foreign material and initiate an antibody-producing process. The spleen becomes enlarged in some infections. Its rupture in high-impact injuries may require surgical removal, which leaves the patient more susceptible to overwhelming infection.
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The spleen is an organ found in the left upper abdomen above the stomach and underneath the rib cage. Spleens in healthy adults are approximately in length.
Like the thymus, the spleen possesses only efferent lymphatic vessels.
|red pulp||Mechanical filtration. Removes unwanted materials from the blood, including old red blood cells.|
|white pulp||Helps fight infections.|| Composed of nodules, called Malpighian corpuscles. These are composed of:|
Other functions of the spleen are less prominent, especially in the healthy adult:
In French, spleen refers to a state of pensive sadness or melancholy. It has been popularized by the poet Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867) but was already used before, in particular in the Romantic literature (18th century). The connection between spleen (the organ) and melancholy (the temperament) comes from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks. One of the humours (body fluid) was the black bile, secreted by the spleen organ and associated with melancholy. In contrast, the Talmud (tractate Berachoth 61b) refers to the spleen as the organ of laughter, possibly suggesting a link with the humoral view of the organ.
In German, the word "Spleen", pronounced "shplehn," refers to a persisting somewhat eccentric (but not quite lunatic) idea or habit of a person; however the organ is called "Milz", (cognate with Old English milte).
In eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England, women in bad humour were said to be afflicted by the spleen, or the vapours of the spleen. In modern English, "to vent one's spleen" means to vent one's anger, e.g. by shouting, and can be applied to both males and females; similarly, the English term "splenetic" is used to describe a person in a foul mood.
In China, the spleen '脾 (pí)' counts as the seat of one's temperament and is thought to influence the individual's willpower. Analogous to "venting one's spleen", "發脾氣" is used as an expression for getting angry, although in the view of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the view of "脾" does not correspond to the anatomical "spleen".
In chiropractic (meric chart) problems with the spleen relate to T8 (eighth thorasic vertebrea), a subluxation at T8 is associated with low energy and/or low immune system function.