Indexed on: 13 Jan '17Published on: 13 Jan '17Published in: Journal of dental research
Lymphatic vessels are important for maintenance of tissue fluid homeostasis and afferent antigen transport. In chronic inflammation, lymphangiogenesis takes place and is characterized by lymphatic endothelial cell proliferation and lymphatic hyperplasia. Vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGFC) is the main known lymphangiogenic growth factor, and its expression is increased in periodontitis, a common chronic infectious disease that results in tissue destruction and alveolar bone loss. The role of lymphangiogenesis during development of periodontitis is unknown. Here, we test if transgenic overexpression of epithelial VEGFC in a murine model is followed by hyperplasia of lymphatic vessels in oral mucosa and if the lymphatic drainage capacity is altered. We also test if lymphatic hyperplasia protects against periodontal disease development. Transgenic keratin 14 (K14)-VEGFC mice had significant hyperplasia of lymphatics in oral mucosa, including gingiva, without changes in blood vessel vasculature. The basal lymph flow was normal but slightly lower than in wild-type mice when oral mucosa was challenged with lipopolysaccharide from Porphyromonas gingivalis. Under normal conditions, K14-VEGFC mice exhibited an increased number of neutrophils in gingiva, demonstrated enhanced phagocyte recruitment in the cervical lymph nodes, and had more alveolar bone when compared with their wild-type littermates. After induction of periodontitis, no strain differences were observed in the periodontal tissues with respect to granulocyte recruitment, bone resorption, angiogenesis, cytokines, and bone-related protein expressions or in draining lymph node immune cell proportions and vascularization. We conclude that overexpression of VEGFC results in hyperplastic lymphatics, which do not enhance lymphatic drainage capacity but facilitate phagocyte transport to draining lymph nodes. Hyperplasia of lymphatics does not protect against development of ligature-induced periodontitis.