The dysfunction or proliferation of lymphatic vessels (lymphangiogenesis) is linked to a number of pathological conditions including lymphedema and cancer. The recent discovery and characterisation of the lymphangiogenic growth factors vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) and VEGF-D and of their receptor on lymphatic endothelial cells, VEGFR-3, has provided an understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling the growth of lymphatic vessels. In addition, other genes and protein markers have been identified with specificity for lymphatic endothelium that have enhanced the characterization and isolation of lymphatic endothelial cells. Our growing understanding of the molecules that control lymphangiogenesis allows us to design more specific drugs with which to manipulate the relevant signalling pathways. Modulating these pathways and other molecules with specificity to the lymphatic system could offer alternative treatments for a number of important clinical conditions.
Keywords: lymphangiogenesis, growth factor, growth factor receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor, lymphedema, metastasis
open access plus
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport