AskDefine | Define lacteal

Dictionary Definition

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

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Relating to milk.
  2. (Anatomy)Relating to milk production.
    ..lacteal ducts in the breasts...

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Extensive Definition

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.
At this point, the fats are in the bloodstream. They can be converted to lipoproteins (HDL, LDL or VLDL) in the liver or be transported to tissues throughout the body and stored in adipose cells as triglycerides.

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