The Link between Lymphatic Function and Adipose Biology


Address for correspondence: Natasha L. Harvey, Florey Research Fellow, Division of Haematology, The Hanson Institute, IMVS, P.O. Box 14, Rundle Mall, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000, Australia. Voice: +61-8-8222-3569; fax: +61-8-8222-3139.


Despite observations of a link between lymphatic vessels and lipids that date as far back as 300, a link between lymphatic vessels and adipose tissue has only recently been recognized. This review will summarize documented evidence that supports a close relationship between lymphatic vessels and adipose tissue biology. Lymphatic vessels mediate lipid absorption and transport, share an intimate spatial association with adipose tissue, and regulate the traffic of immune cells that rely on specialized adipose tissue depots as a reservior of energy deployed to fight infection. Important links between inflammation and adipose tissue biology will also be discussed in this article, as will recent evidence connecting lymphatic vascular dysfunction with the onset of obesity. There seems little doubt that future research in this topical field will ensure that the link between lymphatic vascular function and adipose tissue is firmly established.