Cervical Lymph Nodes are Found in Direct Relationship With the Internal Carotid Artery: Significance for the Lymphatic Drainage of the Brain
ABSTRACT The brain has no conventional lymphatics, but solutes injected into it drain along artery walls and reach lymph nodes in the neck. This study seeks to identify cervical lymph nodes related to the human internal carotid artery (ICA) that could act as the first regional lymph nodes for the brain. Bilateral dissections were carried out on four embalmed human heads, from the level of the carotid bifurcation in the neck, to the base of the skull. Lymph nodes from every specimen were processed for histological examination. A total of 51 deep cervical lymph nodes were identified: 12 lymph nodes (confirmed by histological examination) were observed to be in direct relationship with the ICA. These lymph nodes were found within the carotid sheath and had average diameters of 13.5 x 4.8 mm. Solutes and interstitial fluid from the brain may drain along the walls of cerebral arteries and reach these lymph nodes. They may be sites of stimulation of immune responses against antigens from the brain.
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ABSTRACT: Amyloid is deposited in the walls of arteries and capillaries as cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) in the brains of older individuals and of those with Alzheimer disease (AD). CAA in AD reflects an age-related failure of elimination of amyloid-beta (Abeta) from the brain along perivascular lymphatic drainage pathways. In the absence of conventional lymphatic vessel in the brain, interstitial fluid and solutes drain from the brain to cervical lymph nodes along narrow basement membranes in the walls of capillaries and arteries, a pathway that is largely separate from the cerebrospinal fluid. In this review we focus on the pathology and pathogenesis of CAA, its role in the aetiology of AD and its impact on immunotherapy for AD. The motive force for lymphatic drainage of the brain appears to be generated by arterial pulsations. Failure of elimination of Abeta along perivascular pathways coincides with a reduction in enzymic degradation of Abeta, reduced absorption of Abeta into the blood and age-related stiffening of artery walls that appears to reduce the motive force for lymphatic drainage. Reduced clearances of Abeta and CAA are associated with the accumulation of insoluble and soluble Abetas in the brain in AD and the probable loss of homeostasis of the neuronal environment due to retention of soluble metabolites within the brain. Tau metabolism may also be affected. Immunotherapy has been successful in removing insoluble plaques of Abeta from the brain in AD but with little effect on cognitive decline. One major problem is the increase in CAA in immunised patients that probably prevents the complete removal of Abeta from the brain. Increased knowledge of the physiology and structural and genetic aspects of the lymphatic drainage of Abeta from the brain will stimulate the development of therapeutic strategies for the prevention and treatment of AD.Alzheimer's Research and Therapy 10/2009; 1(2):6. DOI:10.1186/alzrt6
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ABSTRACT: The amyloid cascade hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is testable: it implies that interference with Abeta aggregation and plaque formation may be therapeutically useful. Abeta42 immunisation of amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mice prevented plaque formation and caused removal of existing plaques. The first clinical studies of Abeta immunisation in AD patients (AN1792, Elan Pharmaceuticals) were halted when some patients suffered side effects. Since our confirmation that Abeta immunisation can prompt plaque removal in human AD, we have performed a clinical and neuropathological follow up of AD patients in the initial Elan Abeta immunisation trial. In immunised AD patients, we found: a lower Abeta load, with evidence that plaques had been removed; a reduced tau load in neuronal processes, but not in cell bodies; and no evidence of a beneficial effect on synapses. There were pathological "side effects" including: increased microglial activation; increased cerebral amyloid angiopathy; and there is some evidence for increased soluble/oligomeric Abeta. A pathophysiological mechanism involving effects on the cerebral vasculature is proposed for the clinical side effects observed with some active and passive vaccine protocols. Our current knowledge of the effects of Abeta immunotherapy is based on functional information from the early clinical trials and a few post mortem cases. Several further clinical studies are underway using a variety of protocols and important clinical, imaging and neuropathological data will become available in the near future. The information obtained will be important in helping to understand the pathogenesis not only of AD but also of other neurodegenerative disorders associated with protein aggregation.Acta Neuropathologica 09/2010; 120(3):369-84. DOI:10.1007/s00401-010-0719-5
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ABSTRACT: Age-related cerebrovascular dysfunction contributes to ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhages (ICHs), microbleeds, cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), and cognitive decline. Importantly, there is increasing recognition that this dysfunction plays a critical secondary role in many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Atherosclerosis, hypertension, and CAA are the most common causes of blood-brain barrier (BBB) lesions. The accumulation of amyloid beta (Aβ) in the cerebrovascular system is a significant risk factor for ICH and has been linked to endothelial transport failure and blockage of perivascular drainage. Moreover, recent anti-Aβ immunotherapy clinical trials demonstrated efficient clearance of parenchymal amyloid deposits but have been plagued by CAA-associated adverse events. Although management of hypertension and atherosclerosis can reduce the incidence of ICH, there are currently no approved therapies for attenuating CAA. Thus, there is a critical need for new strategies that improve BBB function and limit the development of β-amyloidosis in the cerebral vasculature.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 10/2010; 1207(1):58-70. DOI:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05786.x