UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA HEALTH SYSTEM
– Vessels directly connecting brain, lymphatic system exist despite decades of doctrine that they don’t
– Finding may have substantial implications for major neurological diseases
– Game-changing discovery opens new areas of research, transforms existing ones
– Major gap in understanding of the human body revealed
– ‘They’ll have to change the textbooks’
Maps of the lymphatic system: old (left) and updated to reflect UVA’s discovery.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., June 1, 2015 – In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own, but the true significance of the discovery lies in the effects it could have on the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis.
New Discovery in Human Body
Kevin Lee, PhD, chairman of the UVA Department of Neuroscience, described his reaction to the discovery by Kipnis’ lab: “The first time these guys showed me the basic result, I just said one sentence: ‘They’ll have to change the textbooks.’ There has never been a lymphatic system for the central nervous system, and it was very clear from that first singular observation – and they’ve done many studies since then to bolster the finding – that it will fundamentally change the way people look at the central nervous system’s relationship with the immune system.”
Even Kipnis was skeptical initially. “I really did not believe there are structures in the body that we are not aware of. I thought the body was mapped,” he said. “I thought that these discoveries ended somewhere around the middle of the last century. But apparently they have not.”
Read the full story here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-06/uovh-mlf052915.php