Expression of VEGFR-3 and 5′-Nase in regenerating lymphatic vessels of the cutaneous wound healing

Authors

  • Rui-Cheng Ji,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Morphological Analysis, Department of Anatomy, Biology and Medicine, Oita University Faculty of Medicine, Oita 879-5593, Japan
    • Division of Morphological Analysis, Department of Anatomy, Biology and Medicine, Oita University Faculty of Medicine, Oita 879-5593, Japan
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  • Masahiro Miura,

    1. Division of Morphological Analysis, Department of Anatomy, Biology and Medicine, Oita University Faculty of Medicine, Oita 879-5593, Japan
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  • Peng Qu,

    1. Division of Morphological Analysis, Department of Anatomy, Biology and Medicine, Oita University Faculty of Medicine, Oita 879-5593, Japan
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  • Seiji Kato

    1. Division of Morphological Analysis, Department of Anatomy, Biology and Medicine, Oita University Faculty of Medicine, Oita 879-5593, Japan
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Abstract

The vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C), a specific lymphangiogenic growth factor, raises new questions and perspectives in studying lymphatic development and regeneration. Wound healing skins in mice were processed for 5′-nucleotidase (5′-Nase) and VEGFR-3 (the receptor of VEGF-C) histochemical staining to distinguish lymphatics from blood capillaries and to analyze lymphangiogenesis. In the wounds of 3–5 days after injury, anti-VEGFR-3 immunopositive signals unevenly appeared in 5′-Nase-positive lymphatic vessels in the subcutaneous tissue. A few small circular and irregular lymphatic-like structures with VEGFR-3 expression scattered in the dermal and subcutaneous tissues. Between days 7 and 15 of the wounds, numerous accumulated vasculatures were stained for 5′-Nase and PECAM-1, extending irregularly along the wound edge. Von Willebrand factor was expressed in the endothelial cells of blood vessels and lymphatics in the subcutaneous tissue. Ultrastructural changes of lymphatic vessels developed at different stages, from lymphatic-like structures to newly formed lymphatic vessels with an extremely thin and indented wall. Endothelial cells of the lymphatic vessel were eventually featured by typical intercellular junctions, which deposited with reaction products of VEGFR-3 and 5′-Nase-cerium but lacked VEGF-C expression. The present findings indicate that VEGF-C-induced lymphangiogenesis occurs from the subcutaneous to the dermis along the wound healing edge, especially in the dermal-subcutaneous transitional area, favorable to growth of regenerating lymphatic vessels. Microsc. Res. Tech. 64:279–286, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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