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Cell Metab. 2017 Oct 3;26(4):598-609. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.07.020. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

The Lymphatic Vasculature: Its Role in Adipose Metabolism and Obesity.

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Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Talca, Chile.
Center for Vascular and Developmental Biology, Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA. Electronic address:


Obesity is a key risk factor for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, and although we understand the mechanisms regulating weight and energy balance, the causes of some forms of obesity remain enigmatic. Despite the well-established connections between lymphatics and lipids, and the fact that intestinal lacteals play key roles in dietary fat absorption, the function of the lymphatic vasculature in adipose metabolism has only recently been recognized. It is well established that angiogenesis is tightly associated with the outgrowth of adipose tissue, as expanding adipose tissue requires increased nutrient supply from blood vessels. Results supporting a crosstalk between lymphatic vessels and adipose tissue, and linking lymphatic function with metabolic diseases, obesity, and adipose tissue, also started to accumulate in the last years. Here we review our current knowledge of the mechanisms by which defective lymphatics contribute to obesity and fat accumulation in mouse models, as well as our understanding of the lymphatic-adipose tissue relationship.


Prox1; adipose tissue; chyle; endothelial cell; inflammation; lymph; lymphatics; obesity

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