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.


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.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Ketone body metabolism supports lymphangiogenesis.


  1. 1.

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

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

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

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

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

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

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

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

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

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

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

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

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

  9. 9.

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

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

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

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

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

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



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

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


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