Volumetric imaging reveals VEGF-C-dependent formation of hepatic lymph vessels in mice - Aix-Marseille Université Access content directly
Journal Articles Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology Year : 2022

Volumetric imaging reveals VEGF-C-dependent formation of hepatic lymph vessels in mice


The liver is a major biosynthetic and detoxifying organ in vertebrates, but also generates 25%–50% of the lymph passing through the thoracic duct and is thereby the organ with the highest contribution to lymph flow. In contrast to its metabolic function, the role of the liver for lymph generation and composition is presently severely understudied. We took a rigorous, volume imaging-based approach to describe the microarchitecture and spatial composition of the hepatic lymphatic vasculature with cellular resolution in whole mount immune stained specimen ranging from thick sections up to entire mouse liver lobes. Here, we describe that in healthy adult livers, lymphatic vessels were exclusively located within the portal tracts, where they formed a unique, highly ramified tree. Ragged, spiky initials enmeshed the portal veins along their entire length and communicated with long lymphatic vessels that followed the path of the portal vein in close association with bile ducts. Together these lymphatic vessels formed a uniquely shaped vascular bed with a delicate architecture highly adapted to the histological structure of the liver. Unexpectedly, with the exception of short collector stretches at the porta hepatis, which we identified as exit point of the liver lymph vessels, the entire hepatic lymph vessel system was comprised of capillary lymphatic endothelial cells only. Functional experiments confirmed the space of Disse as the origin of the hepatic lymph and flow via the space of Mall to the portal lymph capillaries. After entry into the lymphatic initials, the lymph drained retrograde to the portal blood flow towards the exit at the liver hilum. Perinatally, the liver undergoes complex changes transforming from the main hematopoietic to the largest metabolic organ. We investigated the time course of lymphatic vessel development and identified the hepatic lymphatics to emerge postnatally in a process that relies on input from the VEGF-C/VERGFR-3 growth factor—receptor pair for formation of the fully articulate hepatic lymph vessel bed.
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Dates and versions

hal-03933464 , version 1 (10-01-2023)



Stefanie Bobe, Daniel Beckmann, Dorothee Maria Klump, Cathrin Dierkes, Nils Kirschnick, et al.. Volumetric imaging reveals VEGF-C-dependent formation of hepatic lymph vessels in mice. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 2022, 10, ⟨10.3389/fcell.2022.949896⟩. ⟨hal-03933464⟩


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