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Nat Med. 2006 Jun;12(6):711-6. Epub 2006 May 28.

Live imaging of lymphatic development in the zebrafish.

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Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, 6B/309, 6 Center Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The lymphatic system has become the subject of great interest in recent years because of its important role in normal and pathological processes. Progress in understanding the origins and early development of this system, however, has been hampered by difficulties in observing lymphatic cells in vivo and in performing defined genetic and experimental manipulation of the lymphatic system in currently available model organisms. Here, we show that the optically clear developing zebrafish provides a useful model for imaging and studying lymphatic development, with a lymphatic system that shares many of the morphological, molecular and functional characteristics of the lymphatic vessels found in other vertebrates. Using two-photon time-lapse imaging of transgenic zebrafish, we trace the migration and lineage of individual cells incorporating into the lymphatic endothelium. Our results show lymphatic endothelial cells of the thoracic duct arise from primitive veins through a novel and unexpected pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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