n. liquid containing proteins and electrolytes including the liquid in blood plasma and interstitial fluid; "the body normally has about 15 quarts of extracellular fluid" [syn: ECF]
Extracellular fluid (ECF) or extracellular fluid volume (ECFV) usually denotes all body fluid outside the cells. The remainder is called intracellular fluid (ICF). The ECF and ICF are the two major fluid compartments.
In some animals, including mammals, the ECF can be divided into two major subcompartments, interstitial fluid and blood plasma, which make up at least 97%. The extracellular fluid also includes the transcellular fluid, which comprises about 2.5%. It also includes the acellular portion of lymph by the obligate logic of the outside-the-cells definition, although discussions of ECF usually treat lymph as negligible or implicitly lump it together with the interstitial fluid. One way of viewing the ECF is that it has "two components: plasma and lymph as a delivery system, and interstitial fluid for solute exchange."
In humans, the normal glucose concentration of extracellular fluid that is regulated by homeostasis is approximately 5 mM, and the pH is tightly regulated by buffers around 7.4. The volume of ECF is typically 15 L, of which 12 L is interstitial fluid and 3 L is plasma. Interstitial fluid makes up 16% of human body weight, and blood plasma, 4%.