The Morphological Mapping of Mesenteric Lymphatic Network Conference Paper uri icon


  • ObjectivesThe lymphatic system provides routes for lymph flow in the body systems and is tightly involved in the maintenance of fluid and macromolecule homeostasis, as well as transport of newly absorbed dietary lipids and immune cells. In contrast to advancements in the biology of the blood vasculature, knowledge of the basic principles of lymphatic function, especially related to the mechanisms of lymph flow, is still poorly understood. In this study, we are developing multiscale lymphatic network flow models combining theoretical, computational, and experimental approaches. Important parameters for LV network morphology, including typical diameters, vessel lengths, branching characteristics are not readily available in the literature. Therefore, we conducted studies to quantitatively map lymphatic vessel morphology in the rat mesentery.Materials and MethodsMale Sprague Dawley rats were used in this study. The vessels at the root of the mesentery were tied off to minimize bleeding and preserve more blood in the vessels, distinguishing them from lymphatics by their red color. Each loop of the small intestine was spread and pinned for imaging. The images of the vascular bundles were taken using a digital camera mounted on a dissecting microscope. Images were taken starting at the central nodal tissue and following each vascular bundle to the edge of the gut wall. The images were stitched together into montages using Hugin Photo Stitcher software. Microscopic images of calibration slides were taken for scaling. Additionally, unmagnified photographs of the entire gut loops were taken for referencing overall vessel location. The patterns and morphometric information of the lymphatic networks (branching pattern, vessel order, and length) were obtained from all the collected images through analysis with ImageJ software.ConclusionThis study provided valuable morphological data to be incorporated into lymphatic network models, e.g., the average number of branching and average length of vessels of each order. Due to limitations of the imaging, some of the smallest lymphatics may be missed. Thus network characterization of the higherorder lymphatics near the gut wall will require higher resolution/contrast imaging to better identify them. In the future, these techniques can also be adapted to identify individual lymphangions and measure lymphatic vessel radius for use in the multiscale modeling of the lymphatic network. This data will form the basis of improved multiscale lymphatic network models, greatly increasing our ability to investigate the complex behavior of the lymphatic system in health and disease.Support or Funding InformationAcknowledgements: Funding provided by NIH U01 HL123420.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Nizamutdinova, I. T., Davis, C. A., Moreno, M. R., & Zawieja, D. C.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Nizamutdinova, Irina Tsoy||Davis, Caleb A||Moreno, Michael R||Zawieja, David C

publication date

  • April 2017