A study published in eLife last month used three-dimensional imaging in mouse embryos to investigate the role of the lymphatic system in both normal and abnormal renal development.

Imaging revealed that lymphatic structures emerge roughly halfway through the kidney’s development, with rapid growth at the point when the kidney likely starts to filter blood in the embryo.

A mouse model of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) that the authors examined experienced a number of abnormalities during embryonic development, including cyst formation near lymphatic vessels in the outer portion of the kidney, a stunted lymphatic network, reduced lymph vessel diameter, and reduced lymphatic volume.

Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at aschleunes@the-scientist.com.

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