Lipedema as a Lymphatic Disorder

By November 4, 2021 July 8th, 2024 No Comments

Dr Stanley Rockson’s Research Shows Platelet Factor 4 (PF4) is a Biomarker for Lymphatic-promoted Disorders

Today, let’s talk about a research paper entitled Platelet factor 4 is a biomarker for lymphatic-promoted disordersand how much it has helped further knowledge on the diagnosis of lipedema. This was published in JCI Insight in June 2020. This research paper was done by two people you may know: Dr. Stanley Rockson at Stanford University in California and Dr. Guillermo Oliver at Northwestern in Chicago. They’ve done quite a bit of research related to lymphatic disorders over the last 25 years. 


Dr. Oliver’s lab conducted research with an animal model while Dr. Rockson studied human subjects for this research. Their aim was to determine a biomarker that could identify lymphatic dysfunction. They were also interested in finding a method to more clearly distinguish between lymphedema, lipedema, and obesity. Lastly, they wanted to be able to more accurately diagnose lipedema since there are still no lab tests or imaging that you can do to get a definitive diagnosis. 


They were able to show that elevated levels of the cytokine Platelet Factor 4, or PF4, are associated with lymphatic dysfunction. It’s also important to note that levels of PF4 were elevated in women with lipedema but were not increased in women with obesity. 


This research is exciting for the lipedema community because it further substantiates what we have believed to be true: lipedema is a lymphatic disorder. 

Currently, the blood test for PF4 levels is not readily available, but we are hopeful that access to this type of testing will occur in the not-so-distant future. Look for updates on this and other matters regarding lipedema on Lipedema Simplified’s Flash Briefings, our daily mini-podcast with tips, tools, and research pertaining to lipedema. 

~ Leslyn Keith, OTD, CLT-LANA
Board President, Director of Research | The Lipedema Project

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