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Angiogenesis. 2015 Oct;18(4):489-98. doi: 10.1007/s10456-015-9479-0. Epub 2015 Aug 11.

Decline of lymphatic vessel density and function in murine skin during aging.

Author information

1
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 1-5/10, 8093, Zurich, Switzerland.
2
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 1-5/10, 8093, Zurich, Switzerland. steven.proulx@pharma.ethz.ch.

Abstract

Lymphatic vessels play important roles in the pathogenesis of many conditions that have an increased prevalence in the elderly population. However, the effects of the aging process on the lymphatic system are still relatively unknown. We have applied non-invasive imaging and whole-mount staining techniques to assess the lymphatic vessel function and morphology in three different age groups of mice: 2 months (young), 7 months (middle-aged), and 18 months (aged). We first developed and validated a new method to quantify lymphatic clearance from mouse ear skin, using a lymphatic-specific near-infrared tracer. Using this method, we found that there is a prominent decrease in lymphatic vessel function during aging since the lymphatic clearance was significantly delayed in aged mice. This loss of function correlated with a decreased lymphatic vessel density and a reduced lymphatic network complexity in the skin of aged mice as compared to younger controls. The blood vascular leakage in the skin was slightly increased in the aged mice, indicating that the decreased lymphatic function was not caused by a reduced capillary filtration in aged skin. The decreased function of lymphatic vessels with aging might have implications for the pathogenesis of a number of aging-related diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; In vivo imaging; Lymphatic vessels; Vascular leakage

PMID:
26260189
DOI:
10.1007/s10456-015-9479-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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