Regulation of lymphangiogenesis in the diaphragm by macrophages and VEGFR-3 signaling.

Ochsenbein, Alexandra M; Karaman, Sinem; Proulx, Steven T; Goldmann, Rhea; Chittazhathu, Jyothi; Dasargyri, Athanasia; Chong, Chloé; Leroux, Jean-Christophe; Stanley, E Richard; Detmar, Michael (2016). Regulation of lymphangiogenesis in the diaphragm by macrophages and VEGFR-3 signaling. Angiogenesis, 19(4), pp. 513-524. Springer Netherlands 10.1007/s10456-016-9523-8

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Lymphatic vessels play important roles in fluid drainage and in immune responses, as well as in pathological processes including cancer progression and inflammation. While the molecular regulation of the earliest lymphatic vessel differentiation and development has been investigated in much detail, less is known about the control and timing of lymphatic vessel maturation in different organs, which often occurs postnatally. We investigated the time course of lymphatic vessel development on the pleural side of the diaphragmatic muscle in mice, the so-called submesothelial initial diaphragmatic lymphatic plexus. We found that this lymphatic network develops largely after birth and that it can serve as a reliable and easily quantifiable model to study physiological lymphangiogenesis in vivo. Lymphangiogenic growth in this tissue was highly dependent on vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-3 signaling, whereas VEGFR-1 and -2 signaling was dispensable. During diaphragm development, macrophages appeared first in a linearly arranged pattern, followed by ingrowth of lymphatic vessels along these patterned lines. Surprisingly, ablation of macrophages in colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (Csf1r)-deficient mice and by treatment with a CSF-1R-blocking antibody did not inhibit the general lymphatic vessel development in the diaphragm but specifically promoted branch formation of lymphatic sprouts. In agreement with these findings, incubation of cultured lymphatic endothelial cells with conditioned medium from P7 diaphragmatic macrophages significantly reduced LEC sprouting. These results indicate that the postnatal diaphragm provides a suitable model for studies of physiological lymphangiogenic growth and maturation, and for the identification of modulators of lymphatic vessel growth.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Theodor Kocher Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Proulx, Steven Thomas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Springer Netherlands




Ursula Zingg-Zünd

Date Deposited:

21 Oct 2020 15:43

Last Modified:

10 Mar 2021 13:16

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Development Lymphatic vessels Macrophages VEGFR-3




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