Scientists have recently made a discovery that might revolutionize what was known until now about the human body and lead to many changes regarding the way treatment for many diseases such as Alzheimer’s or autism is approached.
According to researchers, the brain might be directly connected to our immune system by vessels that experts did not know they existed until recently.
The discovery was made while a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Virginia, Antoine Louveau, was analyzing a mouse’s brain through a microscope. As he was looking at the thin outer layer that protects the brain, he made an important discovery – a lymphatic vessel was there.
The researchers were able to see this vessel because they found new methods of dissecting the membranes. This enabled them to have the vessels exposed and discover that one of them carried lymph, which carries immune cells and is responsible for helping the body get rid of toxins.
Until now, it was believed that the brain was the only major organ which had no connection to the lymphatic system.
The piece of news already has many enthusiasts cheering over the great benefits it might bring:
“It changes entirely the way we perceive the neuro-immune interaction. We always perceived it before as something esoteric that can’t be studied. But now we can ask mechanistic questions,” said the director of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG), Professor Johnatan Kipnis, from the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Virginia.
Experts say that such a discovery will answer many questions, such as why patients suffering from multiple sclerosis have immune attacks. It will also give scientists an opportunity to study the brain’s immune response.
Now the brain can be viewed like any other organ, connected to the lymphatic system through meningeal vessels.
Thus, patients suffering from various diseases can finally have hope for a cure or for better treatment.
The researchers are astonished at the discovery mostly because they never thought there is something new out there to discover. It is once again shown that the human body still has much to reveal and it never ceases to amaze.
Image Source: Sickkids