Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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How the waste-disposing lymphatic vessel network develops in the kidneys

27 February 2020

Waste Watchers

If you never take the rubbish out, your house rapidly becomes unlivable. Dealing with waste is just as important inside the body. Waste fluid that accumulates in the spaces between cells is dealt with by a network of molecular rubbish chutes called lymphatic vessels. Malfunctioning of these can lead to heart attacks, obesity and cancer. The kidneys are the ultimate waste processing factory of the body, and to better understand how they work with lymphatic vessels a new study created a three-dimensional visualisation of the network forming in developing mouse kidneys (pictured, with lymphatic vessels highlighted in pink and green). This showed that the network starts to develop when the kidneys are half-formed, and expand as the organ starts to function. The study further revealed that mice with the genetic disorder polycystic kidney disease develop distorted lymphatic vessels early on, before symptoms appear, which might point to new opportunities for treatment.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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