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Bioessays. 2002 Nov;24(11):1030-40.

Molecular control of lymphangiogenesis.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia.


The lymphatic vasculature plays a critical role in the regulation of body fluid volume and immune function. Extensive research into the molecular mechanisms that control blood vessel growth has led to identification of molecules that also regulate development and growth of the lymphatic vessels. This is generating a great deal of interest in the molecular control of the lymphatics in the context of embryogenesis, lymphatic disorders and tumor metastasis. Studies in animal models carried out over the past three years have shown that the soluble protein growth factors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C and VEGF-D, and their cognate receptor tyrosine kinase, VEGF receptor-3 (VEGFR-3), are critical regulators of lymphangiogenesis. Furthermore, disfunction of VEGFR-3 has recently been shown to cause lymphedema. The capacity to induce lymphangiogenesis by manipulation of the VEGF-C/VEGF-D/VEGFR-3 signaling pathway offers new opportunities to understand the function of the lymphatic system and to develop novel treatments for lymphatic disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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