Lymphatic vessels modulate tissue fluid balance and inflammation and provide a conduit for endocrine and lipid transport. The growth of new lymphatic vessels in the adult - lymphangiogenesis - is predominantly mediated through vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 (VEGFR-3) signaling. We took advantage of the unique binding of murine VEGF-D specifically to VEGFR-3 and generated mice capable of inducible, tissue-specific expression of murine VEGF-D under a tightly-controlled tetracycline response element (TRE) promoter to stimulate adult tissue lymphangiogenesis. With doxycycline-activated expression, TRE-VEGF-D mouse crossed to mice with tissue-specific promoters for the lung (CCSP-rtTA) developed pulmonary lymphangiectasia. In the kidney, (KSP-rtTA x TRE-VEGF-D) mice exhibited rapid lymphatic hyperplasia upon induction of VEGF-D expression. Crossed with adipocyte-specific adiponectin-rtTA mice (Adipo-VD), chronic VEGF-D overexpression was capable of inducing de novo lymphangiogenesis in white adipose tissue and a massive expansion of brown adipose tissue lymphatics. VEGF-D expression in white adipose tissue also increased macrophage infiltration and tissue fibrosis in the tissue. Expression did not, however, measurably affect peripheral fluid transport, the blood vasculature, or basal metabolic parameters. Upon removal of the doxycycline stimulus, VEGF-D expression returned to normal and the expanded adipose tissue lymphatics regressed in Adipo-VD mice. The inducible TRE-VEGF-D mouse thus provides a novel murine platform to study the adult mechanisms and therapies of an array of disease- and tissue-specific models of lymphangiogenesis.
- adipose tissue
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology