Recent findings from the Tischfield lab (PI: Max Tischfield (pictured to the left of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Child Health Institute of NJ) have revealed that craniosynostosis, a skull malformation present in 1/2000 births, is associated with defects in the ability of meningeal lymphatic vessels to grow and remodel. These vessels, which were just "rediscovered" in 2015, are essential for draining amyloid beta, macromolecules, and waste from cerebrospinal fluid and are also now widely recognized to be important for neuroimmune and neurocognitive functions. Defects in the ability of meningeal lymphatic vessels to properly develop in craniosynostosis may explain some of the underlying cognitive deficits present in the syndrome. Furthermore, craniosynostosis now constitutes an important model to study how these vessels grow and remodel to support neuroimmune trafficking and waste clearance from the brain.
The below figure shows meningeal lymphatic vessels at the base of the skull (labeled in red) in a control animal and an animal with craniosynostosis. In control animals, the vessels are highly branched at the skull base. The arrowheads point to finger-like projections that are thought to absorb macromolecules and waste from cerebrospinal fluid. The animals with craniosynostosis have simplified basal lymphatic networks that are missing these finger-like projections. For the full publication, visit https://go.rutgers.edu/ihwx7boi.