Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Interstitial fluid is one of the two components of extracellular fluid besides plasma. On average, a person has about 11 liters of interstitial fluid providing the cells of the body with nutrients and a means of waste removal.
Production and Removal
Plasma and interstitial fluid are essentially identical except for location. Plasma, the major component in blood, communicates freely with interstitial fluid through pores and intercellular clefts in capillary endothelium. Blood pressure causes continuous production of interstitial fluid by pushing plasma through these openings into the interstitium . The pores are too small to allow proteins or cells through, but most other solutes can pass. Additionally, passive diffusion and active cellular transport from the blood also play a role in fluid production.
Eventually, the interstitial fluid is forced back into the capillaries by osmotic pressure. Additionally, the fluid may drain into the lymphatic vessels.
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