Mechanotransduction in Blood and Lymphatic Vascular Development and Disease

Adv Pharmacol. 2018:81:155-208. doi: 10.1016/bs.apha.2017.08.009. Epub 2017 Nov 10.


The blood and lymphatic vasculatures are hierarchical networks of vessels, which constantly transport fluids and, therefore, are exposed to a variety of mechanical forces. Considering the role of mechanotransduction is key for fully understanding how these vascular systems develop, function, and how vascular pathologies evolve. During embryonic development, for example, initiation of blood flow is essential for early vascular remodeling, and increased interstitial fluid pressure as well as initiation of lymph flow is needed for proper development and maturation of the lymphatic vasculature. In this review, we introduce specific mechanical forces that affect both the blood and lymphatic vasculatures, including longitudinal and circumferential stretch, as well as shear stress. In addition, we provide an overview of the role of mechanotransduction during atherosclerosis and secondary lymphedema, which both trigger tissue fibrosis.

Keywords: Blood vasculature; Integrin; Lymphatic vasculature; Mechanotransduction; Shear stress; Stretch; VEGFR2; VEGFR3; Valves.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Blood Vessels / growth & development*
  • Blood Vessels / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphangiogenesis*
  • Lymphatic Vessels / pathology*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular*
  • Stress, Mechanical