Laboratory model missing one copy of Prox1 gene exhibits abnormal increase in fat accumulation around sites of lymph leakage from defective lymphatic vessels, according to St. Jude
Leaky lymphatic vessels are the leading cause of the adult onset obesity observed in a laboratory model developed by investigators at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. The findings suggest that the abnormal leakage of lymph fluid from the ruptured lymphatic vessels stimulates the accumulation of fat, particularly in regions of the body rich in lymphatics, the researchers said. The lymphatic vasculature (system of capillaries and vessels) that drains lymph is essential for the immune response in inflammation, and is the main route for the spreading of metastatic tumors to the lymph nodes.
The St. Jude investigators showed that removal of one of the two copies of the gene Prox1 disrupts normal development of the lymphatic vasculature, leading to leakage of lymph from ruptured lymphatic vessels, and subsequent obesity. Specifically, the researchers found that adipocytes (fat cells) near leaking lymphatic vessels under the skin and in the abdomen were significantly larger than normal, and therefore able to store more lipids (e.g., fatty acids and triglycerides, used as an energy source).
Kelly Perry | EurekAlert!
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