Intestinal lymphatic vasculature: structure, mechanisms and functions

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| The mammalian intestine is richly supplied with lymphatic vasculature, which has functions ranging from maintenance of interstitial fluid balance to transport of antigens, antigen-presenting cells, dietary lipids and fat-soluble vitamins. In this Review, we provide in-depth information concerning the organization and structure of intestinal lymphatics, the current view of their developmental origins, as well as molecular mechanisms of intestinal lymphatic patterning and maintenance. We will also discuss physiological aspects of intestinal lymph flow regulation and the known and emerging roles of intestinal lymphatic vessels in human diseases, such as IBD, infection and cancer.

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