Lymph vessel growth, also known as lymphangiogenesis, is crucial during development, wound healing, inflammation and tumour metastasis. To enable non-invasive detection and quantification of lymphangiogenesis, Martínez-Corral et al. developed a mouse model expressing an enhanced green fluorescent (EGFP)-luciferase (Luc) fusion protein under the control of endogenous VegfR3 (encoding vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3, a lymphatic marker). VegfR3EGFPLucknock-in mice were used to visualise lymphangiogenesis during development and postnatally, when VegfR3 expression is downregulated. Additionally, growth-factor-stimulated lymphangiogenesis was visualised in live, adult mice using VEGF-C, which resulted in an eightfold increase in Luc signal compared with control mice. The authors also validated their model by visualising lymphangiogenesis during wound healing and inflammation. Finally, they demonstrated that their model is suitable for visualising tumour-induced lymph vessel growth. These mice provide a novel and highly sensitive tool to study the involvement of lymphangiogenesis in normal development and various pathological conditions.
- Written by editorial staff. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
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