The Department of Biomedicine

BBB Seminar: Taija Makinen

Morphogenesis of the lymphatic vascular system

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Taija Makinen
Lymphatic Development Laboratory, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, London, UK

The lymphatic system is comprised of a network of lymphatic capillaries that collect protein rich fluid from the interstitial space and drain it via collecting vessels, first into lymph nodes and then to larger lymphatic ducts, which connect to the venous system. Generation and maintenance of lymph flow relies on the contractions of the smooth muscle cells around the collecting vessels and on the action of luminal valves, which open and close in response to pressure changes and prevent lymph backflow. In humans, congenital malformation of the lymphatic system such as valve defects cause primary lymphoedema, which is usually a progressive and lifelong condition, characterized by gross swelling of the affected limb and accompanied by fibrosis and susceptibility to infections. The talk will focus on the cellular and molecular processes that form and maintain the collecting lymphatic vessels. In particular, a critical role for communication of endothelial cells with the extracellular matrix and the smooth muscle cells during valve morphogenesis and collecting vessel maturation will be described.

Host: Helge Wiig, Department of Biomedicine