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We have generated novel transgenic lines that brightly mark the lymphatic system of zebrafish using the lyve1 promoter. Facilitated by these new transgenic lines, we generated a map of zebrafish lymphatic development up to 15 days post-fertilisation and discovered three previously uncharacterised lymphatic vessel networks: the facial lymphatics, the lateral lymphatics and the intestinal lymphatics. We show that a facial lymphatic vessel, termed the lateral facial lymphatic, develops through a novel developmental mechanism, which initially involves vessel growth through a single vascular sprout followed by the recruitment of lymphangioblasts to the vascular tip. Unlike the lymphangioblasts that form the thoracic duct, the lymphangioblasts that contribute to the lateral facial lymphatic vessel originate from a number of different blood vessels. Our work highlights the additional complexity of lymphatic vessel development in the zebrafish that may increase its versatility as a model of lymphangiogenesis.


Kazuhide S Okuda, Jonathan W Astin, June P Misa, Maria V Flores, Kathryn E Crosier, Philip S Crosier. lyve1 expression reveals novel lymphatic vessels and new mechanisms for lymphatic vessel development in zebrafish. Development (Cambridge, England). 2012 Jul;139(13):2381-91

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PMID: 22627281

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