The 1-integrin plays a key role in LEC invasion in an optimized 3-D collagen matrix model. Academic Article uri icon


  • Lymphangiogenesis, or formation of new lymphatic vessels, is a tightly regulated process that is controlled by growth factor signaling and biomechanical cues. Lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) undergo remodeling, migration, and proliferation to invade the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) during both physiological and pathological lymphangiogenesis. This study optimized conditions for an in vitro three-dimensional (3-D) collagen-based model that induced LEC invasion and recapitulated physiological formation of lymphatic capillaries with lumens. Invasion of LECs was enhanced in the presence of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P). Effects of various known lymphangiogenic factors, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), interleukin (IL)-8, and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), were tested on LEC sprout formation synergistically with VEGF-C. Several of these growth factors significantly enhanced LEC invasion, and synergistic effects of some of these further enhanced the sprouting density and lumen volume. To determine the contribution of specific ECM components, we analyzed the expression of different integrin subunits. Basal expressions of the integrin 5- and integrin 1-subunits were high in LECs. The addition of fibronectin, which mediates cellular responses through these integrins, enhanced LEC sprouting density and sprout length dose-dependently. siRNA-mediated knockdown of the integrin 1-subunit suppressed LEC invasion and also inhibited VEGF receptor (VEGFR)3 and ERK activation. Furthermore, exposing LECs to the inflammatory mediator lipopolysaccharide (LPS) inhibited sprouting. This optimized model for LEC invasion includes S1P, VEGF-C, and fibronectin within a 3-D collagen matrix, along with VEGF-C, VEGF-A, bFGF, and HGF in the culture medium, and provides a useful tool to investigate the functional effect of various lymphangiogenic factors and inhibitors.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Cell Physiol

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Kumaravel, S., Abbey, C. A., Bayless, K. J., & Chakraborty, S.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Kumaravel, Subhashree||Abbey, Colette A||Bayless, Kayla J||Chakraborty, Sanjukta

publication date

  • December 2020