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In lymphedema, there is a profound predisposition to infection with bacterial pathogens. It therefore seems appropriate to reconsider our unique functional definition of the lymphatic structures within a circulatory construct. While the lymphatics unquestionably fulfill a vital circulatory function, it seems more appropriate to view this complex network, comprised both of endothelial-lined vessels and of lymphoid tissue, as the nexus between the circulatory and immune systems. Viewed in this fashion, it becomes evident that the complex biology of regional lymphatic disruption is a manifestation of the interplay between these two vital bodily functions. Experimental lymph stasis in murine model has been utilized to effectively demonstrate the pathological attributes of human lymphedema, namely, inflammation, fat deposition, and fibrosis. Large-scale transcriptional corroborates the role of inflammatory mechanisms. The murine studies have set the stage for subsequent translational investigation of human lymphedema. Many of the gene expression pathways invoked by lymphedema are relevant to the inflammatory response and have provided a pragmatic approach to the successful identification of potentially relevant circulating biomarkers for human lymphedema.
View details for DOI 10.1089/lrb.2013.1132
View details for PubMedID 24024576