A previous unknown direct link between the brain and the immune system was uncovered by neuroscientists, a recent study published in the Nature journal said, which might have significant implications for brain disorder treatment like Alzheimer’s disease, autism and multiple sclerosis.
For Dr. Kevin Lee, the University of Virginia neuroscience department chairman, the discovery came as a surprise.
On a Monday press release, Lee said, “The first time these guys showed me the basic result, I just said one sentence: ‘They’ll have to change the textbooks.’”
And Dr. Jonathan Kipnis, the lead study author, from the University of Virginia Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, echoed the same sentiment.
“When we discovered the lymphatic vessels we were very very surprised, because based on the textbooks, these vessels do not exist,” Kipnis declared via email to The Huffington Post.
While previous studies upheld no direct link between the brain and the lymphatic system, this new findings, presented a lymphatic system model that comprises the brain.
The lymphatic system, lugs a clear fluid chock-full of white blood cells, which helps cleanse toxins from the body called the lymph. Even though, it is not a part of the immune system, the lymphatic system connects to the body’s other system, and is believed to end at the skull’s base.
But as researchers were peering through microscopes at slides holding membranes of mice’s brains, they notice lymphatic vessels, which were never observed before above the skull’s base.
Because the vessels are “well hidden” behind a major blood vessel to the sinuses, a brain area that is difficult to image, that is why scientists were not able to observe this before, Kipnis said.
While the experiment was conducted in mice, humans are believed to have the same anatomy as well.