JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Development of the thoracic duct in the prenatal period of human ontogeny].

In 40 series of histological sections performed in human embryos and prefetuses from 4 up to 20 weeks of development, as well as in 20 corpses of fetuses and stillborns, it has been stated that the anlage of the thoracic duct appear in 6-7-week-old fetuses as lymphatic clefts surrounded with mesenchymal cells that are situated near large veins in the areas of the most active morphogenesis. Connecting with each other, the clefts form the jugular and retroperitoneal lymph sacs and a well branching network of canals. From the latter, on the 7th-8th week of development a plexus of lymph vessels appear, and later on (on the 8th-9th week)--bilaterally situating trunks of the thoracic duct. Further development of the thoracic duct is connected with the lymph nodes formation, their germs appear on the 9th-10th week along the course of the left trunk, as well as along the ductal branches and anastomoses. The formation of the lymph nodes results in reduction of some trunks and plexuses of the thoracic duct. Owing to this, its form in 14-15-week-old prefetuses resembles the one in newborns. Disturbances in the formation processes of the lymph nodes along the course of the reducing ductal areas, as well as their formation along the course of its main trunk can result in various structural variants of the thoracic duct in children and grown-up persons. Histogenesis of the thoracic duct wall and formation of the lymph nodes are not completed by birth.

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