Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ( IF 9.412 ) Pub Date : 2021-05-11 , DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2019580118 Naofumi Yoshida, Seiji Yamamoto, Takeru Hamashima, Noriko Okuno, Naruho Okita, Shinjiro Horikawa, Masao Hayashi, Thanh Chung Dang, Quang Linh Nguyen, Koichi Nishiyama, Teruhiko Makino, Yoko Ishii, Kei Tomihara, Tadamichi Shimizu, Masabumi Shibuya, Makoto Noguchi, Masakiyo Sasahara
Along with blood vessels, lymphatic vessels play an important role in the circulation of body fluid and recruitment of immune cells. Postnatal lymphangiogenesis commonly occurs from preexisting lymphatic vessels by sprouting, which is induced by lymphangiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C). However, the key signals and cell types that stimulate pathological lymphangiogenesis, such as human cystic lymphangioma, are less well known. Here, we found that mouse dermal fibroblasts that infiltrate to sponges subcutaneously implanted express VEGF-D and sushi, Von Willebrand factor type A, EGF, and pentraxin domain containing 1 (SVEP1) in response to PDGFRβ signal. In vitro, Pdgfrb knockout (β-KO) fibroblasts had reduced expression of VEGF-D and SVEP1 and overproduced Amphiregulin. Dysregulation of these three factors was involved in the cyst-like and uneven distribution of lymphatic vessels observed in the β-KO mice. Similarly, in human cystic lymphangioma, which is one of the intractable diseases and mostly occurs in childhood, fibroblasts surrounding cystic lymphatics highly expressed Amphiregulin. Moreover, fibroblast-derived Amphiregulin could induce the expression of Amphiregulin in lymphatic endothelial cells. The dual source of Amphiregulin activated EGFR expressed on the lymphatic endothelial cells. This exacerbation cascade induced proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells to form cystic lymphangioma. Ultimately, excessive Amphiregulin produced by fibroblasts surrounding lymphatics and by lymphatic endothelial cells per se results in pathogenesis of cystic lymphangioma and will be a fascinating therapeutic target of cystic lymphangioma.