Cooperative and redundant roles of VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3 signaling in adult lymphangiogenesis

Activation of vascular endothelial growth factor ( VEGF) receptor-3 (VEGFR-3) by VEGF-C initiates lymphangiogenesis by promoting lymphatic proliferation and migration. However, it is unclear whether VEGFR-3 signaling is required beyond these initial stages, namely during the organization of new lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) into functional capillaries. Furthermore, the role of VEGFR-2, which is also expressed on LECs and binds VEGF-C, is unclear. We addressed these questions by selectively neutralizing VEGFR-3 and/or VEGFR-2 for various time periods in an adult model of lymphangiogenesis in regenerating skin. While blocking either VEGFR-2 or VEGFR-3 with specific antagonist mAbs (DC101 and mF4-31C1, respectively) prior to lymphatic migration prevented lymphangiogenesis, blocking VEGFR-3 subsequent to migration did not affect organization into functional capillaries, and VEGFR-2 blocking had only a small hindrance on organization. These findings were confirmed in vitro using human LECs and anti-human antagonist mAbs (IMC-1121a and hF4-3C5): both VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3 signaling were required for migration and proliferation, but tubulogenesis in 3D cultures was unaffected by VEGFR-3 blocking and partially hindered by VEGFR-2 blocking. Furthermore, both in vitro and in vivo, while VEGFR-3 blocking had no effect on LEC organization, coneutralization of VEGFR-2, and VEGFR- 3 completely prevented lymphatic organization. Our findings demonstrate that cooperative signaling of VEGFR-2 and -3 is necessary for lymphatic migration and proliferation, but VEGFR-3 is redundant with VEGFR-2 for LEC organization into functional capillaries.

Published in:
Faseb Journal, 21, 1003-1012
Federation of American Society of Experimental Biology

Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only

 Record created 2010-10-29, last modified 2018-03-17

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