Homeostatic maintenance of the lymphatic vasculature

Trends Mol Med. 2021 Oct;27(10):955-970. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2021.07.003. Epub 2021 Jul 28.


The lymphatic vasculature is emerging as a multifaceted regulator of tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Lymphatic vessels drain fluid, macromolecules, and immune cells from peripheral tissues to lymph nodes (LNs) and the systemic circulation. Their recently uncovered functions extend beyond drainage and include direct modulation of adaptive immunity and paracrine regulation of organ growth. The developmental mechanisms controlling lymphatic vessel growth have been described with increasing precision. It is less clear how the essential functional features of lymphatic vessels are established and maintained. We discuss the mechanisms that maintain lymphatic vessel integrity in adult tissues and control vessel repair and regeneration. This knowledge is crucial for understanding the pathological vessel changes that contribute to disease, and provides an opportunity for therapy development.

Keywords: inflammation; lymphangiogenesis; lymphatic endothelium; lymphedema.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Lymphangiogenesis* / physiology
  • Lymphatic Vessels* / physiology