We have developed and validated a novel method to access efferent lymph draining the lung and gut of sheep. In this model, efferent lymph derived from the lung could be collected via cannulation of the thoracic duct just prior the thoracic duct-jugular vein junction. The thoracic duct was accessed in the neck region without needing to broach the thoracic cavity, thus avoiding extensive tissue damage to the animal and need for ventilation during surgery. In addition, this surgical approach allows for a second cannulation of an adjacent lymphatic draining the head/neck region, providing for an in-built internal control with which to compare lymph parameters. To test the verity of cannulation procedure, a test protein ovalbumin (OVA) was infused into the left and right lungs via bronchoscopy. We found that OVA was recovered almost exclusively in the lymph draining the lungs compared to the lymph draining the head/neck where it was essentially non-existent. The method described here will be invaluable for optimizing intra-lung delivery of drugs or vaccines. In addition, access to lymph will also allow for analysis of immune responses to infections originating at this site.
Yen, H-H., Wee, J., Snibson, K., & Scheerlinck, J-P. (2009). Thoracic duct cannulation without thoracotomy in sheep: a method for accessing efferent lymph from the lung. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 129(1-2), 76 - 81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetimm.2008.12.014