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Am J Pathol. 2012 Mar;180(3):874-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.11.010. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Inflammation-induced lymph node lymphangiogenesis is reversible.

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Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


The extent of lymph node metastasis is a prognostic indicator of disease progression in many malignancies. Current noninvasive imaging technologies for the clinical assessment of lymph node metastases are based on the detection of cancer cells and commonly suffer from a lack of sensitivity. Recent evidence has indicated that the expansion of lymphatic networks (ie, lymphangiogenesis) within tumor-draining lymph nodes might be the earliest sign of metastasis. Therefore, we recently developed a noninvasive imaging method to visualize lymph node lymphangiogenesis in mice using radiolabeled antibodies against the lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor-1 (LYVE-1) as well as positron emission tomography (PET). This technique, termed anti-LYVE-1 immuno-PET, was found to be very sensitive in the detection of metastasis to the lymph nodes. However, lymphatic vessel expansion to the lymph nodes can also be induced by inflammation, and it is currently unclear whether such vessel expansion is reversed once inflammation has resolved. Detection of residual inflammation-induced lymph node lymphangiogenesis, thus, might hamper the identification of metastasized lymph nodes. In this study, we therefore used a well-established mouse model of inflammation in the skin to investigate whether lymphatic vessels in the lymph nodes regress on resolution of inflammation. Our data reveal that the lymphatic network indeed regresses on the resolution of inflammation and that we can image this process by anti-LYVE-1 immuno-PET.

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