Genetic or acquired defects of the lymphatic vasculature often result in disfiguring, disabling and, occasionally, life-threatening clinical consequences. Advanced forms of lymphedema are readily diagnosed clinically, but more subtle presentations often require invasive imaging or other technologies for a conclusive diagnosis. On the other hand, lipedema, a chronic lymphatic microvascular disease with pathological accumulation of subcutaneous adipose tissue is often misdiagnosed as obesity or lymphedema; currently there are no biomarkers or imaging criteria available for a conclusive diagnosis. Recent evidence suggests that otherwise asymptomatic defective lymphatic vasculature likely contributes to an array of other pathologies, including obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and neurological disorders, among others. Accordingly, identification of biomarkers of lymphatic malfunction will provide a valuable resource for the diagnosis and clinical discrimination of lymphedema, lipedema, obesity and other potential lymphatic-related pathologies. In this paper we profiled and compared blood plasma exosomes isolated from mouse models and from human subjects with and without symptomatic lymphatic pathologies. We identified platelet factor 4 (PF4/CXCL4) as a biomarker that could be used to diagnose lymphatic vasculature dysfunction. Furthermore, we determined that PF4 levels in circulating blood plasma exosomes were also elevated in lipedema patients, supporting current claims arguing that at least some of the underlying attributes of this disease are also the consequence of lymphatic defects.
View details for DOI 10.1172/jci.insight.135109
View details for PubMedID 32525843