Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Spotlight on lymphatic vessels - I Mapping the Network

High-resolution 3D imaging and mapping of the vessel network in lymph nodes

26 February 2020

Mapping the Network

For many of us, the only time we notice our lymph nodes is when we’re ill. For example, the painful lumps you might feel in your neck if you’re suffering from a bad cold are actually swollen lymph nodes packed full of infection-fighting immune cells working overtime to make you well again. These cells are shuttled around through a network of tiny tubes known as conduits. Thanks to advanced microscopy techniques and three-dimensional image reconstruction software, researchers can now map these internal structures in unprecedented detail. These pictures show the blood vessels (green on the left, red on the right) and conduit network (blue) in a single mouse lymph node, created by compiling 280,000 separate image ‘slices’. Now that these networks have been mapped, researchers can create computer simulations that help to explain how cells move through lymph nodes, shedding new light on how the immune system responds to infection.

Written by Kat Arney

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