Mechanisms and cell lineages in lymphatic vascular development

Angiogenesis. 2021 May;24(2):271-288. doi: 10.1007/s10456-021-09784-8. Epub 2021 Apr 6.


Lymphatic vessels have critical roles in both health and disease and their study is a rapidly evolving area of vascular biology. The consensus on how the first lymphatic vessels arise in the developing embryo has recently shifted. Originally, they were thought to solely derive by sprouting from veins. Since then, several studies have uncovered novel cellular mechanisms and a diversity of contributing cell lineages in the formation of organ lymphatic vasculature. Here, we review the key mechanisms and cell lineages contributing to lymphatic development, discuss the advantages and limitations of experimental techniques used for their study and highlight remaining knowledge gaps that require urgent attention. Emerging technologies should accelerate our understanding of how lymphatic vessels develop normally and how they contribute to disease.

Keywords: Embryonic development; Endothelial cell; Lymphangiogenesis; Lymphatic vasculature; Lymphvasculogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lymphangiogenesis*
  • Lymphatic Vessels / embryology*