Lymphatic vessels provide essential roles in maintaining fluid homeostasis and lipid absorption. Dysfunctions of the lymphatic vessels lead to debilitating pathological conditions, collectively known as lymphedema. In addition, lymphatic vessels are a critical moderator for the onset and progression of diverse human diseases including metastatic cancer and obesity. Despite their clinical importance, there is no currently effective pharmacological therapy to regulate functions of lymphatic vessels. Recent efforts to manipulate the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-C (VEGFC) pathway, which is arguably the most important signaling pathway regulating lymphatic endothelial cells, to alleviate lymphedema yielded largely mixed results, necessitating identification of new targetable signaling pathways for therapeutic intervention for lymphedema. Zebrafish, a relatively new model system to investigate lymphatic biology, appears to be an ideal model to identify novel therapeutic targets for lymphatic biology. In this review, we will provide an overview of our current understanding of the lymphatic vessels in vertebrates, and discuss zebrafish as a promising in vivo model to study lymphatic vessels.
- lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC)
- lymphatic vessels
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology