Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tadpole soon to help in the fight against cancer and lymphedema

15.08.2005


Lymph circulates in our bodies through a complex network of lymphatic vessels, of which little is known. This network is, however, of major importance for the support of the immune system and the fluid in our body. Researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected with the Catholic University of Leuven, are the first to indicate that this network can be studied with the help of tadpoles. This accelerates research of the lymphatic vessel network. With tadpoles one can now very quickly identify new genes that play a part in the development and functioning of the lymphatic vessel network. This is a first step in the search for solutions for illnesses related to the lymphatic vessel network, such as cancer and lymphedema.



Lymph: a very important colorless fluid

Fluid and proteins leak out of the blood vessels during blood circulation in the body. A network of lymphatic vessels catches this extravasated colorless fluid, lymph, and transports it back to the blood vessel network. The lymphatic vessel network is of major importance. It is essential for regulating fluid in the body and for the support of the immune system that protects us from pathogenic organisms. Faults in the making or functioning of this network cause many disorders, such as inflammatory and infectious diseases and lymphedema (a swelling caused by water retention). On the other hand, a well-functioning lymphatic vessel network can simplify the spread of cancer cells. A thorough understanding of this network is thus essential for seeking a solution for these diseases.


The search for a suitable model system

As far back as in 1627 Gasparo Asellius discovered the lymphatic vessels as ‘milky veins’. Yet the lymphatic network has not been studied much until now and is therefore as good as unknown, quite amazing seeing its importance for our health. One of the reasons for this lack of study is the fact that there was not a good model system until now. Lymphatic vessels can be studied in mice but this takes time and is extremely complex. Moreover, a study of mice only enables the examination of gene per gene, which complicates revealing the combined action between various genetic factors. For efficient research smaller model organisms are used, such as the zebrafish, which is popular in the study of the blood vessel system. But the zebrafish also offers little comfort, as it does not have any lymphatic vessels.

In the early 20th century studies suggested that tadpoles do have lymphatic vessels. This urged Peter Carmeliet and his research group to examine whether tadpoles can form a suitable model system for the study of the lymphatic vessel network. Tadpoles can easily be genetically modified, which is why they are an ideal model system in which it is relatively easy to identify genes that are important in the development of complex biological structures like lymphatic vessels.

Unraveling the lymphatic vessel system through tadpoles

With their research, the research group op Peter Carmeliet indicated that tadpoles are extremely suitable for the study of lymphatic vessels. To do this they used Prox1, a protein that is essential for the formation of lymphatic vessels. With the help of coloration techniques they visualized the areas in tadpoles where Prox1 is made: the lymphatic vessels. With the same coloration techniques the researchers indicated that the development of lymphatic vessels in tadpoles is comparable to mice and humans. A second part of their research was altering tadpoles in such a way that they make much less Prox1 than normal tadpoles. This resulted in a badly developed lymphatic vessel system, because of which the tadpoles showed signs of lymphedema. It did not have any effect on the blood vessel system.

With these results the VIB researchers are the first to prove that tadpoles are perfect model organisms for the study of lymphatic vessels. In the future tadpoles can be used to identify genes that are important for the development of this complex network. This paves the way for the search for solutions for illnesses caused by faults in the lymphatic vessel network.

Ann Van Gysel | alfa
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>