Cardiac repair following ischemic injury is indispensable for survival and requires a coordinated cellular response involving the mobilization of immune cells from the secondary lymphoid organs to the site of damage. Efferocytosis, the engulfment of cell debris and dying cells by innate immune cells, along with lymphangiogenesis, the formation of new lymphatic vessels, are emerging as central to the cardiac healing response. In this issue of the JCI, Glinton et al. used state-of-the-art approaches to demonstrate that efferocytosis induced vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGFC) in myeloid cells and stimulated lymphangiogenesis and cardiac repair. These findings provide impactful mechanistic information that can be leveraged to therapeutically target pathways in cardiac repair and ischemic heart failure.
Patricia A. D’Amore, Pilar Alcaide