Downregulation of VEGFR3 signaling alters cardiac lymphatic vessel organization and leads to a higher mortality after acute myocardial infarction
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CitationVuorio, T. Ylä-Herttuala, E. Laakkonen, JP. Laidinen, S. Liimatainen, T. Ylä-Herttuala, S. (2018). Downregulation of VEGFR3 signaling alters cardiac lymphatic vessel organization and leads to a higher mortality after acute myocardial infarction. Scientific Reports, 8, 16709. 10.1038/s41598-018-34770-4.
Heart has a wide lymphatic network but the importance of cardiac lymphatic system in heart diseases has remained unclear. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 3 (VEGFR3) is a key molecule in the development and maintenance of cardiac lymphatic vessels. Here we characterized the role of VEGFR3 in healthy hearts and after myocardial infarction (MI) by using sVEGFR3 transgenic mice expressing a soluble decoy VEGFR3 under K14 promoter and Chy mice which have an inactivating mutation in the VEGFR3 gene. Cardiac lymphatic vessels were significantly dilated in the healthy hearts of sVEGFR3 mice when compared to controls. Lymphatic vessels formed large sheet-like structures in Chy mice. Attenuated VEGFR3 signaling led to a more severe MI predisposing to a significantly higher mortality in sVEGFR3 mice than in control mice. sVEGFR3 mice displayed intramyocardial hemorrhages in the infarcted area indicating hyperpermeability of the vasculature. Furthermore, novel MRI methods TRAFF2 and TRAFF4 and histological analysis revealed a modified structure of the fibrotic infarcted area in sVEGFR3 mice. In conclusion, the downregulation of VEGFR3 signaling modifies the structure of cardiac lymphatic network and causes vascular leakiness and increased mortality after MI.