Cardiac lymphatics have emerged as a therapeutic target in cardiovascular diseases to limit myocardial edema and inflammation, notably after myocardial infarction (MI). While most experimental therapeutic approaches have focused on vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) delivery, it remains uncertain to what degree the beneficial cardiac effects are related to lymphatic expansion in the heart. In this issue of the JCI, Keller, Lim, et al. reexamined the acute functional impact of endogenous cardiac lymphangiogenesis in the infarct zone after MI in mice. Their data, obtained by elegant comparisons of several complementary genetic mouse models, indicate that infarct expansion and left ventricular dilation and function after MI are unaffected by infarct lymphangiogenesis. This Commentary places the results into the context of previous findings. We believe these data will help further advance the research field of cardiac lymphatics to guide better clinical translation and benefit patients with ischemic heart disease.
Ebba Bråkenhielm, Yuguo Chen, Yihai Cao
Impact of the VEGF-C/VEGF-D/VEGFR3 axis on cardiac lymphangiogenesis.