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The development of animal model systems for the study of the lymphatic system has resulted in an explosion of information regarding the mechanisms governing lymphatic development and the diseases associated with lymphatic dysfunction. Animal studies have led to a new molecular model of embryonic lymphatic vascular development, and have provided insight into the pathophysiology of both inherited and acquired lymphatic insufficiency. It has become apparent, however, that the importance of the lymphatic system to human disease extends, beyond its role in lymphedema, to many other diverse pathologic processes, including, very notably, inflammation and tumor lymphangiogenesis. Here, we have undertaken a systematic review of the models as they relate to molecular and functional characterization of the development, maturation, genetics, heritable and acquired diseases, and neoplastic implications of the lymphatic system. The translation of these advances into therapies for human diseases associated with lymphatic dysfunction will require the continued study of the lymphatic system through robust animal disease models that simulate their human counterparts.
View details for DOI 10.1196/annals.1413.005
View details for PubMedID 18519959