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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e28023. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028023. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Lymphangiogenesis is required for pancreatic islet inflammation and diabetes.

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  • 1Center for Vascular and Inflammatory Diseases, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America. NYin@som.umaryland.edu

Abstract

Lymphangiogenesis is a common phenomenon observed during inflammation and engraftment of transplants, but its precise role in the immune response and underlying mechanisms of regulation remain poorly defined. Here we showed that in response to injury and autoimmunity, lymphangiogenesis occurred around islets and played a key role in the islet inflammation in mice. Vascular endothelial growth factors receptor 3 (VEGFR3) is specifically involved in lymphangiogenesis, and blockade of VEGFR3 potently inhibited lymphangiogenesis in both islets and the draining LN during multiple low-dose streptozotocin (MLDS) induced autoimmune insulitis, which resulted in less T cell infiltration, preservation of islets and prevention of the onset of diabetes. In addition to their well-known conduit function, lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC) also produced chemokines in response to inflammation. These LEC attracted two distinct CX3CR1(hi) and LYVE-1(+) macrophage subsets to the inflamed islets and CX3CR1(hi) cells were influenced by LEC to differentiate into LYVE-1(+) cells closely associated with lymphatic vessels. These observations indicate a linkage among lymphangiogenesis and myeloid cell inflammation during insulitis. Thus, inhibition of lymphangiogenesis holds potential for treating insulitis and autoimmune diabetes.

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