In the present study, we aimed to identify the normal hindlimb lymphatic systems in rats and compare them with the detours after lymphatic flow blockage. The lymphatic systems of the hindlimbs of normal rats were investigated via lymphography using a near-infrared fluorescence imaging system. The lymphatic vessels were stained using Evans Blue. The lymphatic flow was blocked through lymphatic vessel ligation combined with inguinal and popliteal lymph node dissection. Detours that appeared after 30 days were visualized using lymphography and immunostaining with anti-podoplanin antibodies. Three main results were obtained in the present study. First, the deep medial system, the superficial medial system, a connection between the superficial and deep medial lymphatic systems, and the superficial lateral system, were elucidated. Second, three types of detours, namely the detour of the lateral abdomen, the detour to the lymphatic vessel near the midline of the abdomen, and the detour to the contralateral inguinal lymph node, were identified after lymphatic flow blockage. Lastly, detours were located in the fatty layer above the panniculus carnosus muscle and their lumina were wide. The histology suggested that the detour was a pre-collecting lymphatic vessel. Lymphatic routes in the rat hindlimbs after lymphatic flow blockage were different from those of the normal rat lymphatic system. It was suggested that the detour is a pre-collecting lymphatic vessel and that encouraging its development may be a new method of simple lymphatic drainage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes