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Lymphat Res Biol. 2013 Sep;11(3):187-92. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2013.0013.

Lymphatic vessel function in head and neck inflammation.

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1 Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine , New Haven, Connecticut.



Serious infections of the head and neck cause lymphedema that can lead to airway compromise and oropharyngeal obstruction. Lymphangiogenesis occurs in the head and neck during infection and after immunization. The goal of this project was to develop tools to image lymphatic vessels in living animals and to be able to isolate individual lymphatic endothelial cells in order to quantify changes in single cells caused by inflammation.


The ProxTom transgenic red-fluorescent reporter mouse was developed specifically for the purpose of imaging lymphatic vessels in vivo. Prox1 is a transcription factor that is necessary for lymphangiogenesis in development and for the maintenance of lymphatics in adulthood. Mice were immunized and their lymphatic vessels in lymph nodes were imaged in vivo. Individual lymphatic endothelial cells were isolated by means of their fluorescence.


The ProxTom transgene has the red-fluorescent reporter td-Tomato under the control of Prox1 regulatory elements. tdTomato was faithfully expressed in lymphatic vessels coincident with endogenous Prox1 expression. We show lymphangiogenesis in vivo after immunization and demonstrate a method for the isolation of lymphatic endothelial cells by their tdTomato red-fluorescence.


The faithful expression of the red-fluorescent reporter in the lymphatic vessels of ProxTom means that these mice have proven utility for in vivo study of lymphatic vessels in the immune response. ProxTom has been made available for distribution from the Jackson Laboratory: .

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