How regenerating lymphatics function: Lessons from lizard tails

Helen A. Blacker, Chris Tsopelas, Sandra Orgeig, Christopher B. Daniels, Barry E. Chatterton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Rational treatment of lymphoedema may be improved in the future with a better understanding of the physiological processes involved in the regeneration of new lymphatic vessels (lymphangiogenesis). Many lizard species undergo tail autotomy as a predator escape response and subsequently regenerate nonlymphoedematous tails. Such species may offer novel models for examining lymphangiogenesis. In this lymphoscintigraphic evaluation, three radioactive tracers were employed, 99mTc-antimony trisulphide colloid (∼10 nm diameter), 99mTc-tin fluoride colloid (∼2,000 nm; 99mTc-TFC), and 99mTc-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (soluble; 99mTc-DTPA), to examine lymphatic function in regenerating tails of the Australian marbled gecko, Christinus marmoratus. Rate of local clearance and velocity of migration were determined in geckos with original tails and at 6, 9, 12, and >24 weeks after autotomy. In original-tailed geckos, the smaller radiocolloid was cleared to a greater extent and had a faster lymph velocity than in geckos with regenerated tails. The same parameters measured for larger particles were greater in early regeneration than later. 99mTc-TFC did not migrate from the injection site in fully regenerated and original gecko tails, which indicates that larger particles are increasingly impeded as tail regeneration progresses. Soluble 99mTc-DTPA diffused from the injection site extremely rapidly via venous capillaries in all tails, confirming that the slower clearance of the colloids is solely via the lymphatics. Differences in clearance and lymph velocity between differently sized colloids throughout tail regeneration may be influenced by changes in surrounding tissue structure density and the lymphatic vessel porosity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Lymphangiogenesis
  • Lymphatic clearance
  • Lymphoscintigraphy
  • Reptile
  • Tail regeneration


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