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Leak Less

Promoting growth of new non-leaky lymphatic vessels by removing a 'brake' in a key molecular pathway

07 October 2021

Leak Less

It’s no good repairing a broken plumbing system with new pipes that leak themselves. Something like this happens when researchers investigating the mechanism behind struggling lymphatic systems – the network of microscopic pipes that drain and transport essential material in the body – add the growth-inducing molecule VEGF-C to prompt new vessel growth. As an alternative to this active encouragement, a new approach instead removed the innate brakes downstream in the regulation process. The study examined mice engineered to lack a particular protein, PTEN, in the cells lining their vessels, which freed a different key receptor for VEGF-C to step up its action. The result was an expanded network of lymphatic vessels that was less leaky and functioned better. The vessels (green in the mouse intestinal tissue shown) were long-lasting, suggesting this approach may be a better way to enhance the network.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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