Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 in lymphangiogenesis in wound healing

Am J Pathol. 2000 May;156(5):1499-504. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)65021-3.


Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 (VEGFR-3) is essential for embryonic cardiovascular development, but thereafter becomes confined to the lymphatic endothelium in adult tissues. We have here studied VEGFR-3 expression in experimental wounds of pigs and chronic inflammatory wounds of humans. In healing incisional and punch biopsy wounds made in the dorsal skin of pigs, angiogenic blood vessels, identified by use of the blood vascular endothelial markers vWF and PAL-E and the basal lamina protein laminin, developed into the granulation tissue stroma from day 4 onward, being most abundant on days 5 and 6 and regressing thereafter. VEGFR-3-positive vessels were observed in the granulation tissue from day 5 onward. These vessels were distinct from the PAL-E/laminin/vWF-positive vessels and fewer in number, and they appeared to sprout from pre-existing VEGFR-3-positive lymphatic vessels at the wound edge. Unlike the blood vessels, very few VEGFR-3-positive lymphatic vessels persisted on day 9 and none on day 14. In chronic wounds such as ulcers and decubitus wounds of the lower extremity of humans, VEGFR-3 was also weakly expressed in the vascular endothelium. Our results suggest that transient lymphangiogenesis occurs in parallel with angiogenesis in healing wounds and that VEGFR-3 becomes up-regulated in blood vessel endothelium in chronic inflammatory wounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Endothelium, Lymphatic / chemistry*
  • Endothelium, Lymphatic / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Laminin / analysis
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / analysis*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / analysis*
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / analysis
  • Swine
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-3
  • Wound Healing / physiology*
  • von Willebrand Factor / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Laminin
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • von Willebrand Factor
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-3