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Dev Cell. 2010 Mar 16;18(3):437-49. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2010.01.009.

Regulation of developmental lymphangiogenesis by Syk(+) leukocytes.

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Department of Vascular Cell Biology, Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Röntgenstrasse 20, D-48149 Münster, Germany.


Lymphatic vessels are essential for tissue homeostasis and immune surveillance and contribute to pathological conditions. Lymphatic endothelium differentiates from veins and forms an independent vascular tree with only few connections to the venous circulation. Failure of blood and lymphatic vessel separation results in hemorrhage and edema. VEGF-C and -D are strong inducers of lymphangiogenesis and have essential (VEGF-C) and modulatory (VEGF-D) roles during developmental lymphangiogenesis. We describe here a myeloid population that is defined by expression of the tyrosine kinase Syk, comprises largely M2-polarized mononuclear cells, and robustly expresses angiogenic factors, including VEGF-C/-D and chemokines. These cells stimulate lymphangiogenesis in vivo. Deletion of Syk causes increased chemotractant production, enhanced transmigration, and accumulation in the skin. Ensuing lymphatic hyperplasia and vessel dilation cause the formation of blood-lymphatic shunts. This mechanism does not involve circulating endothelial progenitor cells and demonstrates the potential of hematopoietic cells to control developmental lymphangiogenesis.

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