Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


Ketogenic therapies for lymphedema?

Lymphedema, a condition of fluid retention and tissue swelling, is currently incurable and is treated primarily with physical therapy. Studies in mice reveal that intake of a ketogenic diet or exogenous ketone bodies may alleviate lymphedema by increasing the formation of lymphatic vessels, which can drain excess lymph fluid.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Ketone body metabolism supports lymphangiogenesis.


  1. Alitalo, K. Nat. Med. 17, 1371–1380 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Randolph, G. J., Ivanov, S., Zinselmeyer, B. H. & Scallan, J. P. Annu. Rev. Immunol. 35, 31–52 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Petrova, T. V. & Koh, G. Y. J. Exp. Med. 215, 35–49 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Cemal, Y., Pusic, A. & Mehrara, B. J. J. Am. Coll. Surg. 213, 543–551 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Escobedo, N. & Oliver, G. Cell Metab. 26, 598–609 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Wong, B. W. et al. Nature 542, 49–54 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Yu, P. et al. Nature 545, 224–228 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. García-Caballero, M. et al. Nat. Metab. (2019).

  9. Puchalska, P. & Crawford, P. A. Cell Metab. 25, 262–284 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Newman, J. C. & Verdin, E. Trends Endocrinol. Metab. 25, 42–52 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Heyndrickx, G. V. & Peeters, G. J. Biochem. J. 75, 1–3 (1960).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Patrycja Puchalska or Peter A. Crawford.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Puchalska, P., Crawford, P.A. Ketogenic therapies for lymphedema?. Nat Metab 1, 656–657 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing