The aim of this study was to verify that subcutaneous lymph node transplantation inducing lymphatic regeneration is possible in healthy adult rats, in analogy to results obtained in other species. This rat model was used to determine the effects of lymph node fragmentation as well as sheep erythrocytes and platelet-rich plasma injection on the regeneration of the transplanted lymph nodes. The results show for the first time that the rat is an adequate model to study the regeneration of transplanted lymph nodes. Lymph node fragmentation seems to affect transplant regeneration negatively. An immune challenge by injection of sheep erythrocytes in the drainage area of the transplanted lymph nodes does not improve fragment regeneration. However, injection of syngeneic platelet-rich plasma containing several growth factors resulted in an improvement in regeneration. Lymph node fragment regeneration, although still experimental, could be relevant for lymphedema prevention. Acquired lymphedema has a high prevalence in developed countries as a consequence of the removal and/or radiotherapy of tumor-draining lymph nodes in cancer patients. This disease causes lifelong disability due to chronic swelling and increased risk of infections. It currently lacks an effective treatment.

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