This study aimed to investigate the mechanisms that coordinate lymphangiogenesis. Using mouse models of lymphatic regeneration and inflammatory lymphangiogenesis, we explored the hypothesis that hypoxia inducible factor-α (HIF-1α) is a central regulator of lymphangiogenesis. We show that HIF-1α inhibition by small molecule inhibitors (YC-1 and 2-methyoxyestradiol) results in delayed lymphatic repair, decreased local vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) expression, reduced numbers of VEGF-C(+) cells, and reductions in inflammatory lymphangiogenesis. Using transgenic HIF-1α/luciferase mice to image HIF-1α expression in real time in addition to Western blot analysis and pimonidazole staining for cellular hypoxia, we demonstrate that hypoxia stabilizes HIF-1α during initial stages of wound repair (1-2 wk); whereas inflammation secondary to gradients of lymphatic fluid stasis stabilizes HIF-1α thereafter (3-6 wk). In addition, we show that CD4(+) cell-mediated inflammation is necessary for this response and regulates HIF-1α expression by macrophages, as CD4-deficient or CD4-depleted mice demonstrate 2-fold reductions in HIF-1α expression as compared to wild-types. In summary, we show that HIF-1α is a critical coordinator of lymphangiogenesis by regulating the expression of lymphangiogenic cytokines as part of an early response mechanism to hypoxia, inflammation, and lymphatic fluid stasis.