Adrenomedullin stabilizes the lymphatic endothelial barrier in vitro and in vivo

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The lymphatic vascular system functions to maintain fluid homeostasis by removing fluid from the interstitial space and returning it to venous circulation. This process is dependent upon the maintenance and modulation of a semi-permeable barrier between lymphatic endothelial cells of the lymphatic capillaries. However, our understanding of the lymphatic endothelial barrier and the molecular mechanisms that govern its function remains limited. Adrenomedullin (AM) is a 52 amino acid secreted peptide which has a wide range of effects on cardiovascular physiology and is required for the normal development of the lymphatic vascular system. Here, we report that AM can also modulate lymphatic permeability in cultured dermal microlymphatic endothelial cells (HMVEC-dLy). AM stimulation caused a reorganization of the tight junction protein ZO-1 and the adherens protein VE-cadherin at the plasma membrane, effectively tightening the endothelial barrier. Stabilization of the lymphatic endothelial barrier by AM occurred independently of changes in junctional protein gene expression and AM−/− endothelial cells showed no differences in the gene expression of junctional proteins compared to wildtype endothelial cells. Nevertheless, local administration of AM in the mouse tail decreased the rate of lymph uptake from the interstitial space into the lymphatic capillaries. Together, these data reveal a previously unrecognized role for AM in controlling lymphatic endothelial permeability and lymphatic flow through reorganization of junctional proteins.

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