Dixon, J. Brandon

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    Near infrared imaging as a lymphatic diagnostic in health and disease
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2018-05-09) Dixon, J. Brandon
    With the development of sensors with enhanced sensitivity in the near infrared range, NIR imaging is an emerging approach for non-invasive optical imaging. These approaches lend themselves nicely to the study of peripheral lymphatic function, as these vessels are the natural clearance route from the interstitium of molecules larger than about 15 KDa. Through the injection of various NIR-labeled molecules, we have developed approaches to assess lymphatic function in a variety of physiologic and disease contexts. In this talk I will provide an overview of the applications pioneered in our lab for in vivo imaging of lymphatic function including the characterization of joint drainage, exosome trafficking to lymph nodes, and measuring lymphatic pressure generation in health and disease. Furthermore, when data gathered from NIR imaging is incorporated into computational models of lymphatic networks, the approaches provide a powerful diagnostic tool for assessing lymphatic muscle force generation with regional specificity.
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    Exploring Lymphatic Function: An Engineered Toolbox to Shed Light on Nature’s Invisible Vessels
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013-01-08) Dixon, J. Brandon
    Proper lymphatic function is essential to a variety of important physiologic processes including immune cell trafficking, lipid absorption, and the regulation of fluid balance. However, the experimental difficulties associated with making actual measurements on lymphatics have slowed our understanding of these processes. In vitro experiments on isolated primary lymphatic endothelial cells or lymphatic muscle cells remove the cell from its native biological and mechanical microenvironment, making the interpretation of results challenging. In vivo experiments, on the other hand, often require highly invasive and terminal procedures to access the vessels. In this talk I will describe several experimental platforms we have developed to assist in both of these issues. By culturing cells in microenvironments that more accurately recreate their biophysical and physiologic surroundings, we seek to not only better recapitulate the in vivo state, but to explore how changes in this mechanical environment participate in the pathogenesis of lymphatic disease. Through the use of NIR imaging techniques, we can perform longitudinal studies on lymphatic function and measure lymphatic pumping pressure in a minimally invasive fashion. Finally, we have developed several approaches using a fluorescently-labeled fatty acid analogue to quantify the dynamics of lipid transport by lymphatics both in vivo and in vitro and have evidence that lymphatic transport of lipid is not the passive process that it has been historically regarded to be.