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Interplay of mechanotransduction, FOXC2, connexins, and calcineurin signaling in lymphatic valve formation.
Advances in Anatomy, Embryology, and Cell Biology
The directional flow of lymph is maintained by hundreds of intraluminal lymphatic valves. Lymphatic valves are crucial to prevent lymphedema, accumulation of fluid in the tissues, and to ensure immune surveillance; yet, the mechanisms of valve formation are only beginning to be elucidated. In this chapter, we will discuss the main steps of lymphatic valve morphogenesis, the important role of mechanotransduction in this process, and the genetic program regulated by the transcription factor Foxc2, which is indispensable for all steps of valve development. Failure to form mature collecting lymphatic vessels and valves causes the majority of postsurgical lymphedema, e.g., in breast cancer patients. Therefore, this knowledge will be useful for diagnostics and development of better treatments of secondary lymphedema.
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