Studying the formation of lymph vessels -- which are involved in disorders ranging from inflammation to cancer -- has been hindered by the lack of a model that could be genetically manipulated. In the September issue of Nature Medicine, Annelii Ny and colleagues present tadpoles of the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis as a model for investigating the development of lymph vessels.
The researchers subjected tadpoles to lymphangiography, a radiographic technique for examining anatomy, and found that lymph vessels form via two different pathways -- one pathway shared by mammals and the other shared by birds. They also studied the effects of genetically modifying the expression of two proteins that mediate the development of lymph vessels.
Based on their results, the researchers suggest that the X. laevis tadpoles could be used for detailed anatomical investigation and the roles of lymph vessels in disease.
Peter Carmeliet (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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