Histologic heterogeneity and intranodal shunt flow in lymph nodes from elderly subjects: a cadaveric study
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Gaps of the superficial cortex of the lymph node provide intranodal shunts that are more often the cause of skip metastasis than are collateral vessels. Examination of lymph nodes from cadavers of elderly subjects often revealed cortical gaps, especially in specific three-dimensional assembled cords; these cortical gaps were readily seen in para-aortic and pelvic nodes. This architecture seemed to be more appropriate for a systemic immune response than a local defense. Evidence of poorly developed cortices, anthracosis, and hyalinization also suggested impaired nodal function. We suspect that this histologic heterogeneity, perhaps a result of aging, affects the nodal trapping of colorimetric/isotopic tracers and metastatic cancer cells. This may have implications for lymphatic mapping of the sentinel lymph node in elderly patients with early-stage cancer.
Key WordsAging Cortex Gaps Lymph nodes Skip metastasis
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