July 27, 2019 - 12:44 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - New research reveals that a particular group of lymphatic vessels plays a pivotal role in helping the brain dispose of waste. It also suggests that deterioration of these vessels through aging could contribute to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Medical News Today.
Until a few years ago, scientists did not realize that the brain had lymphatic vessels that help it to get rid of excess fluid and waste materials.
They have since discovered that the brain uses lymphatic vessels to drain away waste in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
However, the underlying mechanisms and transport routes for draining CSF from the brain have been unclear.
In the new study, researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Center for Vascular Research, both in Daejeon, South Korea, investigated a group of lymphatic vessels located in the basal parts of the skull.
A recent Nature paper describes how they used special MRI scans to track CSF through lymphatic vessels in rodents.
The team found that basal meningeal lymphatic vessels (mLVs) are the main routes through which CSF drains from the brain.
"We also show," note the authors, "that basal mLVs are hotspots for the clearance of CSF macromolecules and that both mLV integrity and CSF drainage are impaired with aging."
By helping to map the brain's lymphatic system, the study contributes to new treatments that boost the brain's ability to dispose of waste.
The lymphatic system is a collection of vessels that lie next to blood vessels of the circulation system. The lymphatic system carries lymph, which is a colorless fluid that contains waste products and immune cells. Lymph nodes filter the lymph and return it to the bloodstream.
As imaging techniques improve, so scientists are gaining fresh insights into the crucial role that the lymphatic system plays in health and disease.
In immunity, for example, scientists are learning that not only does the lymphatic system regulate the transport of immune cells, but that its own cells and physical properties can influence local conditions in tissues.