Research perspectives in inherited lymphatic disease

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Dec:979:39-51; discussion 76-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2002.tb04866.x.


The hereditary lymphedemas provide an opportunity to identify genes involved in normal and deranged lymphatic development. Genetic analysis of families with Milroy's disease identified mutations in VEGFR3 as a cause of congenital lymphedema, confirming the importance of VEGFC/VEGFR3 signaling in lymphatic development. These observations led to the identification of a mouse model for primary lymphedema, and subsequent analysis of this mouse model, using transgenic and gene transfer techniques, has provided initial clues to the development of a biologically based therapy for primary lymphedema. Of more importance from a public health perspective is the fact that manipulation of this pathway may lead to effective therapies for the more prevalent forms of secondary lymphedema. Identification of FOXC2 as the gene mutated in the lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome has revealed new molecular insight into lymphatic development. Molecular analysis of the FOXC2 pathway may provide clues to developmental pathways shared by the lymphatic system and the other developmental abnormalities associated with this complex syndrome. With improving knowledge of the human genome, genetic analysis of families with lymphedema continues to offer one of the most promising approaches to identifying genes influencing lymphatic development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Diseases / genetics*
  • Lymphedema / genetics
  • Noonan Syndrome / genetics
  • Research / trends
  • Syndrome
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-3 / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C
  • mesenchyme fork head 1 protein
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-3