Novel characterization of lymphatic valve formation during corneal inflammation

PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e21918. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021918. Epub 2011 Jul 7.


Lymphatic research has progressed rapidly in recent years. Though lymphatic dysfunction has been found in a wide array of disorders from transplant rejection to cancer metastasis, to date, there is still little effective treatment for lymphatic diseases. The cornea offers an optimal site for lymphatic research due to its accessible location, transparent nature, and lymphatic-free but inducible features. However, it still remains unknown whether lymphatic valves exist in newly formed lymphatic vessels in the cornea, and how this relates to an inflammatory response. In this study, we provide the first evidence showing that lymphatic valves were formed in mouse cornea during suture-induced inflammation with the up-regulation of integrin alpha 9. The number of corneal valves increased with the progression of inflammatory lymphangiogenesis. Moreover, we have detected lymphatic valves at various developmental stages, from incomplete to more developed ones. In addition to defining the average diameter of lymphatic vessels equipped with lymphatic valves, we also report that lymphatic valves were more often located near the branching points. Taken together, these novel findings not only provide new insights into corneal lymphatic formation and maturation, but also identify a new model for future investigation on lymphatic valve formation and possibly therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conjunctiva / metabolism
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Cornea / growth & development
  • Cornea / metabolism*
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Lymphangiogenesis*
  • Lymphatic Vessels / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Time Factors
  • Up-Regulation


  • Integrins