Lymph node transplantation decreases swelling and restores immune responses in a transgenic model of lymphedema

Jung Ju Huang, Jason C. Gardenier, Geoffrey E. Hespe, Gabriela D.García Nores, Raghu P. Kataru, Catherine L. Ly, Inés Martínez-Corral, Sagrario Ortega, Babak J. Mehrara

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28 Scopus citations


Introduction Secondary lymphedema is a common complication of cancer treatment and recent studies have demonstrated that lymph node transplantation (LNT) can decrease swelling, as well as the incidence of infections. However, although these results are exciting, the mechanisms by which LNT improves these pathologic findings of lymphedema remain unknown. Using a transgenic mouse model of lymphedema, this study sought to analyze the effect of LNT on lymphatic regeneration and T cell-mediated immune responses. Methods We used a mouse model in which the expression of the human diphtheria toxin receptor is driven by the FLT4 promoter to enable the local ablation of the lymphatic system through subdermal hindlimb diphtheria toxin injections. Popliteal lymph node dissection was subsequently performed after a two-week recovery period, followed by either orthotopic LNT or sham surgery after an additional two weeks. Hindlimb swelling, lymphatic vessel regeneration, immune cell trafficking, and T cell-mediated immune responses were analyzed 10 weeks later. Results LNT resulted in a marked decrease in hindlimb swelling, fibroadipose tissue deposition, and decreased accumulation of perilymphatic inflammatory cells, as compared to controls. In addition, LNT induced a marked lymphangiogenic response in both capillary and collecting lymphatic vessels. Interestingly, the resultant regenerated lymphatics were abnormal in appearance on lymphangiography, but LNT also led to a notable increase in dendritic cell trafficking from the periphery to the inguinal lymph nodes and improved adaptive immune responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168259
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
StatePublished - 12 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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