Air pollution causes lymph nodes to turn black

(ORDO NEWS) — Living in a city with a highly polluted atmosphere significantly affects the condition of the lymph nodes in the lungs. They are filled with particles of dust and soot, blacken and cope worse with the protection of the body.

There are several hundred lymph nodes in the human body that play a critical role in protecting the body from cancer and infections.

There, lymph is filtered, foreign antigens are recognized, immune memory is preserved , lymphocyte cells develop, and so on.

Normally, the lymph nodes have a beige-pink color. However, in people who breathe polluted air for years, they turn black, like the lungs of a hardened smoker.

Donna Farber and her colleagues examined the lymph nodes of 84 recently deceased US residents aged 11 to 93, both smokers and non-smokers.

In the process, they noticed that with age, the color of the lymph nodes changes. In adolescents and young men, they still retain a beige-pink hue.

However, in people over the age of 30, the lymph nodes become increasingly black and by the age of 60 they already resemble tiny pieces of coal.

Air pollution causes lymph nodes to turn black 2
Lymph nodes of six non-smokers of different ages

The authors found that only the lymph nodes located in the lungs experience such metamorphoses. Those found in the gastrointestinal tract and other parts of the body may remain normal in color into old age.

This, according to scientists, indicates the cause of blackening: air pollution, saturating the lungs with a huge amount of dust and soot.

This hypothesis was confirmed by histological analysis of black lymph nodes. Under a microscope, they were able to examine particles that had penetrated into the intercellular space and even inside the cells.

Especially a lot of pollution accumulates in macrophages – immune cells that actively absorb and digest bacteria, the remains of dead cells and foreign particles that have entered the body.

According to scientists, macrophages literally “suffocate” under the load of so much dust and soot and lose the ability to perform their normal functions.

All this dramatically reduces the body’s ability to resist infections, especially those that are transmitted by airborne droplets.


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