Blood and lymphatic vascular tube formation in mouse

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2014 Jul:31:115-23. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2014.02.013. Epub 2014 Mar 14.


The blood and lymphatic vasculatures are essential for nutrient delivery, gas exchange and fluid homeostasis in all tissues of higher vertebrates. They are composed of a hierarchical network of vessels, which are lined by vascular or lymphatic endothelial cells. For blood vascular lumen formation to occur, endothelial cell cords polarize creating apposing apical cell surfaces, which repulse each other and give rise to a small intercellular lumen. Following cell shape changes, the vascular lumen expands. Various junctional proteins, polarity complexes, extracellular matrix binding and actin remodelling molecules are required for blood vascular lumen formation. In contrast, little is known regarding the molecular mechanisms leading to lymphatic vascular tube formation. Current models agree that lymphatic vessels share a blood vessel origin, but they differ in identifying the mechanism by which a lymphatic lumen is formed. A ballooning mechanism was proposed, in which lymph sacs are connected via their lumen to the cardinal veins. Alternatively, a mechanism involving budding of streams of lymphatic endothelial cells from either the cardinal veins or both the cardinal veins and the intersomitic vessels, and subsequent assembly and lumenisation was recently described. Here, we discuss what is currently known about the molecular and cellular machinery that guides blood and lymphatic vascular tube formation in mouse.

Keywords: Blood vessel; Cell polarity; Lymphatic vessel; Mouse; Vascular lumen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / embryology
  • Blood Vessels / growth & development*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Lymphangiogenesis*
  • Lymphatic Vessels / embryology
  • Mice