3 years ago

Prominent Lymphatic Vessel Hyperplasia with Progressive Dysfunction and Distinct Immune Cell Infiltration in Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a common complication that occurs after breast cancer treatment in up to 30% of the patients undergoing surgical lymph node excision. It is associated with tissue swelling, fibrosis, increased risk of infection, and impaired wound healing. Despite the pronounced clinical manifestations of the disease, little is known about the morphological and functional characteristics of the lymphatic vasculature during the course of lymphedema progression. We used an experimental murine tail lymphedema model where sustained fluid stasis was generated on disruption of lymphatic flow, resulting in chronic edema formation with fibrosis and adipose tissue deposition. Morphological analysis of the lymphatic vessels revealed a dramatic expansion during the course of the disease, with active proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells at the early stages of lymphedema. The lymphatic capillaries exhibited progressively impaired tracer filling and retrograde flow near the surgery site, whereas the collecting lymphatic vessels showed a gradually decreasing contraction amplitude with unchanged contraction frequency, leading to lymphatic contraction arrest at the later stages of the disease. Lymphedema onset was associated with pronounced infiltration by immune cells, predominantly Ly6G+ and CD4+ cells, which have been linked to impaired lymphatic vessel function.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0002944016301183

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