Lymphatic endothelial progenitor cells: origins and roles in lymphangiogenesis

Publication date: August 2018
Source:Current Opinion in Immunology, Volume 53
Author(s): Jan Kazenwadel, Natasha L Harvey
How are lymphatic vessels built? What are the sources of progenitor cells employed to construct lymphatic vessels during embryogenesis and in pathological situations? Are lymphatic vessels in different tissues built the same way? These questions have been highly topical and actively debated in the field of lymphangiogenesis research for more than 100 years. While embryonic veins and cells of mesenchymal origin have been recognised as sources of embryonic lymphatic endothelial cells for many years, recent advances in technology have revealed the existence of additional sources of lymphatic endothelial cells important for embryonic lymphangiogenesis. Intriguingly, distinct progenitor cell sources appear to be employed in a tissue specific manner during development. Gaining further insight into the identity of lymphatic endothelial progenitor cells and the signals that direct their assembly, both during development and in disease, has the potential to enable the design of therapeutics able to selectively target specific lymphatic vessel beds, a feature likely to prove valuable for the treatment of human disorders including cancer, lymphoedema and inflammatory disease.