Virginia, US (BBN)-The discovery of a lymphatic link to the brain at a time when it is believed that all anatomical mysteries have been solved, shows that there is more hidden that needs to be uncovered.
Researchers at University of Virginia found that the brain is connected to the lymphatic system through vessels in meninges, a membrane covering the brain, reports Newseveryday.
The central nervous system was thought to be disconnected from the lymphatic system.
The new discovery is expected to help researchers understand a previously unknown aspect of disorders ranging from Alzheimer’s to multiple sclerosis.
It changes entirely the way we perceive the neuro-immune interaction.
We always perceived it before as something esoteric that can’t be studied. But now we can ask mechanistic questions,” said Jonathan Kipnis a professor at the university.
A postdoctoral fellow at the university Antoine Louveau first detected the vessels in rat brain.
It was fairly easy, actually. There was one trick: We fixed the meninges within the skullcap, so that the tissue is secured in its physiological condition, and then we dissected it.
If we had done it the other way around, it wouldn’t have worked,” he said.
Researchers also said that live imaging of the vessels is difficult as they are hidden by a major blood vessel.
The team noted that the newly discovered vessels look different with age and may play a direct in neurological conditions.
This can help understand the association with disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.