Lymphangiogenesis, the growth of lymphatic vessels, is essential in embryonic development. In adults, it is involved in many pathological processes such as lymphedema, inflammatory diseases, and tumor metastasis. Advances during the past decade have dramatically increased the knowledge of the mechanisms of lymphangiogenesis, including the roles of transcription factors, lymphangiogenic growth factors and their receptors, and intercellular and intracellular signaling cascades. Strategies based on these mechanisms are being tested in the treatment of various human diseases such as cancer, lymphedema, and tissue allograft rejection. This Review summarizes the recent progress on lymphangiogenic mechanisms and their applications in disease treatment.
Wei Zheng, Aleksanteri Aspelund, Kari Alitalo