Published on:
    Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research, 2011; 2(3):141-152
    Invited Review | doi:10.4103/0975-3583.85260

    An overview of lymphatic vessels and their emerging role in cardiovascular disease


    Dennis Jones1,2, Wang Min1,3

    1Interdepartmental Program in Vascular Biology and Therapeutics,

    2Departments of Immunobiology and

    3Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, CT, USA


    Over the past decade, molecular details of lymphatic vessels (lymphatics) have been rapidly acquired due to the identification of lymphatic endothelial-specific markers. Separate from the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system is also an elaborate network of vessels that are important in normal physiology. Lymphatic vessels have the unique task to regulate fluid homeostasis, assist in immune surveillance, and transport dietary lipids. However, dysfunctional lymphatic vessels can cause pathology, while normal lymphatics can exacerbate pathology. This review summarizes the development and growth of lymphatic vessels in addition to highlighting their critical roles in physiology and pathology. Also, we discuss recent work that suggests a connection between lymphatic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.

    Key words: Cardiovascular disease, inflammation, lymphedema, lymphatic vessels, vegf receptor-3.