Skip to content

Discovery of previously unknown blood vessel system in bones.

Although bones are hard ossified organs, they have a dense network of blood vessels inside them where bone marrow is located. as well as on their outer surface covered by the periosteum.  Fresh blood is transported into organs around the body via arteries with veins transporting the used blood back out again, however, the precise structure of the closed bloodstream in long bones is still unclear.  Now a study from researchers led by Universität Duisburg-Essen identifies a previously unknown network of very fine blood vessels connecting bone marrow directly to the blood supply of the periosteum.  The team states they found blood vessels in the bones of mice traversing perpendicularly across the entire length of the compact bone, the so-called cortical bone, and have dubbed them ‘trans-cortical vessels’ (TCVs) for this reason.  The opensource study is published in the journal Nature Metabolism.

Previous studies show closed circulatory blood systems underlie the function of vertebrate organs, however, in long bones their structure is unclear although they constitute the exit route for bone marrow neutrophils.  Recent inaccurate concepts have only described a few single arterial canals and two venous canals in bones. The current study investigates the vascular system of long bones in mice to understand neutrophil migration from bone marrow.

The current study images the distribution of blood vessels in murine long bones treated with a chemical to make them transparent using light-sheet fluorescence microscopy and X-ray microscopy.  Results show hundreds of capillaries along the entire bone shaft crossing the cortical bone perpendicularly and forming a direct connection between the endosteal and periosteal circulations.  Data findings show the majority of both arterial and venous blood flows through this newly discovered system of vessels suggesting the system is a central component for supplying bones with oxygen and nutrients.

The lab states the newly-discovered system of vessels is used by the immune cells in the bone marrow to reach the bloodstream, and in the case of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, it is especially important for immune cells to reach the source of the inflammation quickly.  They conclude in long bones, TCVs form the mainstay of blood circulation and constitute the missing link in the search for a fully functional closed circulatory system.

The team surmises they have identified a previously unknown blood vessel system in bones helping immune cells to quickly reach sources of inflammation.  For the future, the researchers state they plan to investigate the role of TCVs for normal bone remodeling and in conditions such as osteoporosis or tumors metastasizing in bones.

Source: Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)

Get Healthinnovations delivered to your inbox:

Healthinnovations View All

Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.

Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.

Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.

Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.

Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.

An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.