Transient loss of venous integrity during developmental vascular remodeling leads to red blood cell extravasation and clearance by lymphatic vessels

Development. 2018 Feb 8;145(3):dev156745. doi: 10.1242/dev.156745.


Maintenance of blood vessel integrity is crucial for vascular homeostasis and is mainly controlled at the level of endothelial cell (EC) junctions. Regulation of endothelial integrity has largely been investigated in the mature quiescent vasculature. Less is known about how integrity is maintained during vascular growth and remodeling involving extensive junctional reorganization. Here, we show that embryonic mesenteric blood vascular remodeling is associated with a transient loss of venous integrity and concomitant extravasation of red blood cells (RBCs), followed by their clearance by the developing lymphatic vessels. In wild-type mouse embryos, we observed activated platelets extending filopodia at sites of inter-EC gaps. In contrast, embryos lacking the activatory C-type lectin domain family 1, member b (CLEC1B) showed extravascular platelets and an excessive number of RBCs associated with and engulfed by the first lymphatic EC clusters that subsequently form lumenized blood-filled vessels connecting to the lymphatic system. These results uncover novel functions of platelets in maintaining venous integrity and lymphatic vessels in clearing extravascular RBCs during developmental remodeling of the mesenteric vasculature. They further provide insight into how vascular abnormalities characterized by blood-filled lymphatic vessels arise.

Keywords: Blood-filled lymphatic vessel; Endothelial integrity; Lymphvasculogenesis; Platelet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / cytology
  • Erythrocytes / cytology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Lectins, C-Type / deficiency
  • Lectins, C-Type / genetics
  • Lectins, C-Type / physiology
  • Lymphatic Vessels / embryology*
  • Mesenteric Veins / embryology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pregnancy
  • Vascular Remodeling / physiology*


  • Lectins, C-Type