It is widely known that chronic inflammatory bowel disease can be painful and debilitating.
Both genetics and environment are thought to promote disease, but it is not fully understood how chronic IBD develops.
Emerging evidence indicates that IBD is associated with an increase in lymphatic vasculature, which transports lymph throughput the body. It is not clear if these lymphatic vessels promote or improve IBD. A new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation indicates that improving lymphatic function relieves experimental IBD in mice. Silvio Danese and colleagues at Humanitas Clinical and Research Center gave mice a compound called VEGF-C that improves lymphatic function prior to the onset of experimental IBD. VEGF-C treatment prevented development of both chronic and acute IBD. This study indicates that augmenting lymphatic function helps prevent intestinal inflammation and suggests that VEGF-C should be further tested for use in IBD.