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The Role of Meningeal Lymphatics in Cleansing the Brain: Implications for Alzheimer’s Disease

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Blood vessels supply our organs with oxygen and nutrients. Another set of vessels, called the lymphatic vessels, perform other very important roles in the maintenance of tissues as they remove all the waste and toxic compounds the organ produces and also serve as a path for immune cells from organs back to the lymph nodes. The mammalian central nervous system (CNS) thus far has been considered one of the only organs devoid of lymphatic vessels, and it was not fully understood how toxic compounds are removed from the brain. Our group has identified and described the basic biology of a novel meningeal lymphatic vascular system that serves a tissue clearance function of the brain. Absence of meningeal lymphatics results in attenuated clearance of macromolecules from within the CNS. We will address the role of this main drainage pathway in regulation of Abeta removal, its dysfunction as a contributor to Alzheimer’s disease and finally, using a pharmacological approach, we will enhance its function and assess its effect on Alzheimer’s pathology.