Integrin-?5?1 is not required for mural cell functions during development of blood vessels but is required for lymphatic-blood vessel separation and lymphovenous valve formation.
ABSTRACT: Integrin ?5?1 is essential for vascular development but it remains unclear precisely where and how it functions. Here, we report that deletion of the gene encoding the integrin-?5 subunit (Itga5) using the Pdgfrb-Cre transgenic mouse line, leads to oedema, haemorrhage and increased levels of embryonic lethality. Unexpectedly, these defects were not caused by loss of ?5 from Pdgfrb-Cre expressing mural cells (pericytes and vascular smooth muscle cells), which wrap around the endothelium and stabilise blood vessels, nor by defects in the heart or great vessels, but were due to abnormal development of the lymphatic vasculature. Reminiscent of the pathologies seen in the human lymphatic malformation, fetal cystic hygroma, ?5 mutants display defects both in the separation of their blood and lymphatic vasculature and in the formation of the lymphovenous valves. As a consequence, ?5-deficient mice develop dilated, blood-filled lymphatic vessels and lymphatic capillaries that are ectopically covered with smooth muscle cells. Analysis of the expression of Pdgfrb during lymphatic development suggests that these defects probably arise from loss of ?5?1 integrin in subsets of specialised Prox1(+)Pdgfrb(+) venous endothelial cells that are essential for the separation of the jugular lymph sac from the cardinal vein and formation of the lymphovenous valve leaflets.
Project description:Lymphatic vasculature regulates fluid homeostasis by returning interstitial fluid to blood circulation. Lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) are the building blocks of the entire lymphatic vasculature. LECs originate as a homogeneous population of cells predominantly from the embryonic veins and undergo stepwise morphogenesis to become the lymphatic capillaries, collecting vessels or valves. The molecular mechanisms underlying the morphogenesis of the lymphatic vasculature remain to be fully understood. Here we show that canonical Wnt/?-catenin signaling is necessary for lymphatic vascular morphogenesis. Lymphatic vascular-specific ablation of ?-catenin in mice prevents the formation of lymphatic and lymphovenous valves. Additionally, lymphatic vessel patterning is defective in these mice, with abnormal recruitment of mural cells. We found that oscillatory shear stress (OSS), which promotes lymphatic vessel maturation, triggers Wnt/?-catenin signaling in LECs. In turn, Wnt/?-catenin signaling controls the expression of several molecules, including the lymphedema-associated transcription factor FOXC2. Importantly, FOXC2 completely rescues the lymphatic vessel patterning defects in mice lacking ?-catenin. Thus, our work reveals that mechanical stimulation is a critical regulator of lymphatic vascular development via activation of Wnt/?-catenin signaling and, in turn, FOXC2.
Project description:Lymphedema, the most common lymphatic anomaly, involves defective lymphatic valve development; yet the epigenetic modifiers underlying lymphatic valve morphogenesis remain elusive. Here, we showed that during mouse development, the histone-modifying enzyme histone deacetylase 3 (Hdac3) regulates the formation of both lymphovenous valves, which maintain the separation of the blood and lymphatic vascular systems, and the lymphatic valves. Endothelium-specific ablation of Hdac3 in mice led to blood-filled lymphatic vessels, edema, defective lymphovenous valve morphogenesis, improper lymphatic drainage, defective lymphatic valve maturation, and complete lethality. Hdac3-deficient lymphovenous valves and lymphatic vessels exhibited reduced expression of the transcription factor Gata2 and its target genes. In response to oscillatory shear stress, the transcription factors Tal1, Gata2, and Ets1/2 physically interacted with and recruited Hdac3 to the evolutionarily conserved E-box-GATA-ETS composite element of a Gata2 intragenic enhancer. In turn, Hdac3 recruited histone acetyltransferase Ep300 to form an enhanceosome complex that promoted Gata2 expression. Together, these results identify Hdac3 as a key epigenetic modifier that maintains blood-lymph separation and integrates both extrinsic forces and intrinsic cues to regulate lymphatic valve development.
Project description:Lymphatic vasculature is an integral part of digestive, immune and circulatory systems. The homeobox transcription factor PROX1 is necessary for the development of lymphatic vessels, lymphatic valves (LVs) and lymphovenous valves (LVVs). We and others previously reported a feedback loop between PROX1 and vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) signaling. PROX1 promotes the expression of the VEGF-C receptor VEGFR3 in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs). In turn, VEGF-C signaling maintains PROX1 expression in LECs. However, the mechanisms of PROX1/VEGF-C feedback loop remain poorly understood. Whether VEGF-C signaling is necessary for LV and LVV development is also unknown. Here, we report for the first time that VEGF-C signaling is necessary for valve morphogenesis. We have also discovered that the transcriptional co-activators YAP and TAZ are required to maintain PROX1 expression in LVs and LVVs in response to VEGF-C signaling. Deletion of <i>Yap</i> and <i>Taz</i> in the lymphatic vasculature of mouse embryos did not affect the formation of LVs or LVVs, but resulted in the degeneration of these structures. Our results have identified VEGF-C, YAP and TAZ as a crucial molecular pathway in valve development.
Project description:The chromatin-remodeling enzyme CHD4 maintains vascular integrity at mid-gestation; however, it is unknown whether this enzyme contributes to later blood vessel or lymphatic vessel development. Here, we addressed this issue in mice harboring a deletion of Chd4 specifically in cells that express lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE1), which include lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells. Chd4 mutant embryos died before birth and exhibited severe edema, blood-filled lymphatics, and liver hemorrhage. CHD4-deficient embryos developed normal lymphovenous (LV) valves, which regulate the return of lymph to the blood circulation; however, these valves lacked the fibrin-rich thrombi that prevent blood from entering the lymphatic system. Transcripts of the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), which facilitates activation of the fibrin-degrading protease plasmin, were upregulated in Chd4 mutant LYVE1+ cells, and plasmin activity was elevated near the LV valves. Genetic reduction of the uPAR ligand urokinase prevented degradation of fibrin-rich thrombi at the LV valves and largely resolved the blood-filled lymphatics in Chd4 mutants. Urokinase reduction also ameliorated liver hemorrhage and prolonged embryonic survival by reducing plasmin-mediated extracellular matrix degradation around sinusoidal blood vessels. These results highlight the susceptibility of LV thrombi and liver sinusoidal vessels to plasmin-mediated damage and demonstrate the importance of CHD4 in regulating embryonic plasmin activation after mid-gestation.
Project description:Vezf1 is an early development gene that encodes a zinc finger transcription factor. In the developing embryo, Vezf1 is expressed in the yolk sac mesoderm and the endothelium of the developing vasculature and, in addition, in mesodermal and neuronal tissues. Targeted inactivation of Vezf1 in mice reveals that it acts in a closely regulated, dose-dependent fashion on the development of the blood vascular and lymphatic system. Homozygous mutant embryos display vascular remodeling defects and loss of vascular integrity leading to localized hemorrhaging. Ultrastructural analysis shows defective endothelial cell adhesion and tight junction formation in the mutant vessels. Moreover, in heterozygous embryos, haploinsufficiency is observed that is characterized by lymphatic hypervascularization associated with hemorrhaging and edema in the jugular region; a phenotype reminiscent of the human congenital lymphatic malformation syndrome cystic hygroma.
Project description:Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) is highly expressed by lymphatic endothelial cells and has been shown to stimulate lymphangiogenesis in adult mice. However, the role VEGFR2 serves in the development of the lymphatic vascular system has not been defined. Here we use the Cre-lox system to show that the proper development of the lymphatic vasculature requires VEGFR2 expression by lymphatic endothelium. We show that Lyve-1(wt/Cre);Vegfr2(flox/flox) mice possess significantly fewer dermal lymphatic vessels than Vegfr2(flox/flox) mice. Although Lyve-1(wt/Cre);Vegfr2(flox/flox) mice exhibit lymphatic hypoplasia, the lymphatic network is functional and contains all of the key features of a normal lymphatic network (initial lymphatic vessels and valved collecting vessels surrounded by smooth muscle cells (SMCs)). We also show that Lyve-1(Cre) mice display robust Cre activity in macrophages and in blood vessels in the yolk sac, liver and lung. This activity dramatically impairs the development of blood vessels in these tissues in Lyve-1(wt/Cre);Vegfr2(flox/flox) embryos, most of which die after embryonic day14.5. Lastly, we show that inactivation of Vegfr2 in the myeloid lineage does not affect the development of the lymphatic vasculature. Therefore, the abnormal lymphatic phenotype of Lyve-1(wt/Cre);Vegfr2(flox/flox) mice is due to the deletion of Vegfr2 in the lymphatic vasculature not macrophages. Together, this work demonstrates that VEGFR2 directly promotes the expansion of the lymphatic network and further defines the molecular mechanisms controlling the development of the lymphatic vascular system.
Project description:Although patients with obesity-induced lymphedema can be treated by weight loss therapy, they find it difficult to lose the required amount of weight. The aims of this study were to clarify the characteristics of the lymphatic vessels in patients with obesity-induced lymphedema and to determine the feasibility and efficacy of lymphovenous anastomosis (LVA) in these patients. Methods:Twenty-two patients (44 edematous lower limbs) with a body mass index (BMI) >35 kg/m2 (obese group) and 91 patients with lymphedema (141 edematous lower limbs) and BMI <25 kg/m2 were enrolled as a control group (nonobese group) and underwent LVA. The diameter and depth of lymphatics and the effect of LVA were compared. Results:Lymphatics were detectable within 10-mm depth in the nonobese group and the obese group (3.0 ± 1.4 mm versus 3.5 ± 2.1 mm; P < 0.01). The lymphatic diameter was significantly greater in the obese group than in the nonobese group (0.79 ± 0.30 mm versus 0.54 ± 0.22 mm; P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in the rate of improvement in lymphedema after LVA between the nonobese group (9.1% ± 9.2%) and the obese group (8.9% ± 7.3%; P = 0.84). There was no correlation between the improvement rate of lymphedema and that of BMI in the obese group (P = 0.57). Conclusions:LVA is a feasible procedure even in morbidly obese patients. Considering that substantial weight loss is a difficult and time-consuming task for patients, LVA combined with not gaining weight is a good option for these patients.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Dicer is an RNase III enzyme that cleaves double stranded RNA and generates functional interfering RNAs that act as important regulators of gene and protein expression. Dicer plays an essential role during mouse development because the deletion of the dicer gene leads to embryonic death. In addition, dicer-dependent interfering RNAs regulate postnatal angiogenesis. However, the role of dicer is not yet fully elucidated during vascular development. METHODS: In order to explore the functional roles of the RNA interference in vascular biology, we developed a new constitutive Cre/loxP-mediated inactivation of dicer in tie2 expressing cells. RESULTS: We show that cell-specific inactivation of dicer in Tie2 expressing cells does not perturb early blood vessel development and patterning. Tie2-Cre; dicerfl/fl mutant embryos do not show any blood vascular defects until embryonic day (E)12.5, a time at which hemorrhages and edema appear. Then, midgestational lethality occurs at E14.5 in mutant embryos. The developing lymphatic vessels of dicer-mutant embryos are filled with circulating red blood cells, revealing an impaired separation of blood and lymphatic vasculature. CONCLUSION: Thus, these results show that RNA interference perturbs neither vasculogenesis and developmental angiogenesis, nor lymphatic specification from venous endothelial cells but actually provides evidence for an epigenetic control of separation of blood and lymphatic vasculature.
Project description:Lymphatic vessels play an important role in the regulation of tissue fluid balance, immune responses, and fat adsorption and are involved in diseases including lymphedema and tumor metastasis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 3 (VEGFR-3) is necessary for development of the blood vasculature during early embryogenesis, but later, VEGFR-3 expression becomes restricted to the lymphatic vasculature. We analyzed mice deficient in both of the known VEGFR-3 ligands, VEGF-C and VEGF-D. Unlike the Vegfr3(-/-) embryos, the Vegfc(-/-); Vegfd(-/-) embryos displayed normal blood vasculature after embryonic day 9.5. Deletion of Vegfr3 in the epiblast, using keratin 19 (K19) Cre, resulted in a phenotype identical to that of the Vegfr3(-/-) embryos, suggesting that this phenotype is due to defects in the embryo proper and not in placental development. Interestingly, the Vegfr3(neo) hypomorphic mutant mice carrying the neomycin cassette between exons 1 and 2 showed defective lymphatic development. Overexpression of human or mouse VEGF-D in the skin, under the K14 promoter, rescued the lymphatic hypoplasia of the Vegfc(+/-) mice in the K14-VEGF-D; Vegfc(+/-) compound mice, suggesting that VEGF-D is functionally redundant with VEGF-C in the stimulation of developmental lymphangiogenesis. Our results suggest VEGF-C- and VEGF-D-independent functions for VEGFR-3 in the early embryo.
Project description:Prox1 heterozygous mice have a defective lymphatic vasculature and develop late-onset obesity. Chyle abnormally leaks from those vessels, accumulates in the surrounding tissues, and causes an increase in adipose tissue. We characterized the lymphatics of Prox1(+/-) mice to determine whether the extent of obesity correlated with the severity of lymphatic defects. The lymphatic vasculature in Prox1(+/-) mice exhibited reduced tracer clearance from the ear skin, dysfunctional perfusion of the lower legs, and reduced tracer uptake into the deep lymphatic collectors during mechanostimulation prior to the onset of obesity. Ear lymphatic vessels and leg collectors in Prox1(+/)(-) mice were disorganized and irregular, further confirming that defective lymphatic vessels are associated with obesity in Prox1(+/)(-) mice. We now provide conclusive in vivo evidence that demonstrates that leaky lymphatics mediate obesity in Prox1(+/)(-) mice, as restoration of lymphatic vasculature function was sufficient to rescue the obesity features in Prox1(+/-) mice. Finally, depth-lipomic profiling of lymph contents showed that free fatty acids induce adipogenesis in vitro.