Lymphatic vessels play an important role in body fluid, as well as immune system homeostasis. Although the role of malfunctioning or missing lymphatics has been studied extensively, less is known on the functional consequences of a chronically expanded lymphatic network or lymphangiogenesis.Approach and Results—
To this end, we used K14-VEGF-C (keratin-14 vascular endothelial growth factor-C) transgenic mice overexpressing the vascular endothelial growth factor C in skin and investigated the responses to inflammatory and fluid volume challenges. We also recorded interstitial fluid pressure, a major determinant of lymph flow. Transgenic mice had a strongly enhanced lymph vessel area in skin. Acute inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide and chronic inflammation by delayed-type hypersensitivity both resulted in increased interstitial fluid pressure and reduced lymph flow, both to the same extent in wild-type and transgenic mice. Hyperplastic lymphatic vessels, however, demonstrated enhanced transport capacity after local fluid overload not induced by inflammation. In this situation, interstitial fluid pressure was increased to a similar extent in the 2 strains, thus, suggesting that the enhanced lymph vessel area facilitated initial lymph formation. The increased lymph vessel area resulted in an enhanced production of the chemoattractant CCL21 that, however, did not result in augmented dendritic cell migration after induction of local skin inflammation by fluorescein isothiocyanate.Conclusions—
An expanded lymphatic network is capable of enhanced chemoattractant production, and lymphangiogenesis will facilitate initial lymph formation favoring increased clearance of fluid in situations of augmented fluid filtration.