Clonal Proliferation and Stochastic Pruning Orchestrate Lymph Node Vasculature Remodeling

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Lymph node (LN) expansion during an immune response relies on the transient remodeling of its vasculature. Although the mechanisms driving LN endothelial cell division are beginning to be understood, a comprehensive view of LN endothelial cell dynamics at the single-cell level is lacking. Here, we used multicolored fluorescent fate-mapping models to track the behavior of blood endothelial cells during LN expansion upon inflammation and subsequent return to homeostasis. We found that expansion of the LN vasculature relied on the sequential assembly of endothelial cell proliferative units. This segmented growth was sustained by the clonal proliferation of high endothelial venule (HEV) cells, which act as local progenitors to create capillaries and HEV neo-vessels at the periphery of the LN. Return to homeostasis was accompanied by the stochastic death of pre-existing and neo-synthesized LN endothelial cells. Thus, our fate-mapping studies unravel—at a single-cell level—the complex dynamics of vascular-tree remodeling during LN expansion and contraction.

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