The chemokine receptors ACKR2 and CCR2 reciprocally regulate lymphatic vessel density

EMBO J. 2014 Nov 3;33(21):2564-80. doi: 10.15252/embj.201488887. Epub 2014 Sep 30.


Macrophages regulate lymphatic vasculature development; however, the molecular mechanisms regulating their recruitment to developing, and adult, lymphatic vascular sites are not known. Here, we report that resting mice deficient for the inflammatory chemokine-scavenging receptor, ACKR2, display increased lymphatic vessel density in a range of tissues under resting and regenerating conditions. This appears not to alter dendritic cell migration to draining lymph nodes but is associated with enhanced fluid drainage from peripheral tissues and thus with a hypotensive phenotype. Examination of embryonic skin revealed that this lymphatic vessel density phenotype is developmentally established. Further studies indicated that macrophages and the inflammatory CC-chemokine CCL2, which is scavenged by ACKR2, are associated with this phenotype. Accordingly, mice deficient for the CCL2 signalling receptor, CCR2, displayed a reciprocal phenotype of reduced lymphatic vessel density. Further examination revealed that proximity of pro-lymphangiogenic macrophages to developing lymphatic vessel surfaces is increased in ACKR2-deficient mice and reduced in CCR2-deficient mice. Therefore, these receptors regulate vessel density by reciprocally modulating pro-lymphangiogenic macrophage recruitment, and proximity, to developing, resting and regenerating lymphatic vessels.

Keywords: atypical receptors; chemokine; development; lymphatic; macrophage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / embryology*
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / embryology
  • Lymphangiogenesis / physiology*
  • Lymphatic Vessels / cytology
  • Lymphatic Vessels / embryology*
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, CCR2 / genetics
  • Receptors, CCR2 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Chemokine / genetics
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism*
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / embryology


  • Ackr2 protein, mouse
  • Ccr2 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, CCR2
  • Receptors, Chemokine