Lymphatic Vessels: The Next Frontier in Lung Transplant
Lymphatic vessels are essential for the uptake of fluid, immune cells, macromolecules, and lipids from the interstitial space. During lung transplant surgery, the pulmonary lymphatic vessel continuum is completely disrupted, and, as a result, lymphatic drainage function is severely compromised. After transplantation, the regeneration of an effective lymphatic drainage system plays a crucial role in maintaining interstitial fluid balance in the lung allograft. In the meantime, these newly formed lymphatic vessels are commonly held responsible for the development of immune responses leading to graft rejection, because they are potentially capable of transporting antigen-presenting cells loaded with allogeneic antigens to the draining lymph nodes. However, despite remarkable progress in the understanding of lymphatic biology, there is still a paucity of consistent evidence that demonstrates the exact impacts of lymphatic vessels on lung graft function. In this review, we examine the current literature related to roles of lymphatic vessels in the pathogenesis of lung transplant rejection.