Lymphatic vessels (LVs) are important structures for antigen presentation, for lipid metabolism, and as conduits for tumor metastases, but they have been difficult to visualize in vivo. Prox1 is a transcription factor that is necessary for lymphangiogenesis in ontogeny and the maintenance of LVs. To visualize LVs in the lymph node of a living mouse in real time, we made the ProxTom transgenic mouse in a C57BL/6 background using red fluorescent LVs that are suitable for in vivo imaging. The ProxTom transgene contained all Prox1 regulatory sequences and was faithfully expressed in LVs coincident with endogenous Prox1 expression. The progenies of a ProxTom × Hec6stGFP cross were imaged using two-photon laser scanning microscopy, allowing the simultaneous visualization of LVs and high endothelial venules in a lymph node of a living mouse for the first time. We confirmed the expression of Prox1 in the adult liver, lens, and dentate gyrus. These intensely fluorescent mice revealed the expression of Prox1 in three novel sites: the neuroendocrine cells of the adrenal medulla, megakaryocytes, and platelets. The novel sites identified herein suggest previously unknown roles for Prox1. The faithful expression of the fluorescent reporter in ProxTom LVs indicates that these mice have potential utility in the study of diseases as diverse as lymphedema, filariasis, transplant rejection, obesity, and tumor metastasis.
Copyright © 2012 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.