Lymph sacs are not required for the initiation of lymph node formation

Mark F. Vondenhoff, Serge A. van de Pavert, Miriam E. Dillard, Mascha Greuter, Gera Goverse, Guillermo Oliver*, Reina E. Mebius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The lymphatic vasculature drains lymph fluid from the tissue spaces of most organs and returns it to the blood vasculature for recirculation. Before reaching the circulatory system, antigens and pathogens transported by the lymph are trapped by the lymph nodes. As proposed by Florence Sabin more than a century ago and recently validated, the mammalian lymphatic vasculature has a venous origin and is derived from primitive lymph sacs scattered along the embryonic body axis. Also as proposed by Sabin, it has been generally accepted that lymph nodes originate from those embryonic primitive lymph sacs. However, we now demonstrate that the initiation of lymph node development does not require lymph sacs. We show that lymph node formation is initiated normally in E14.5 Prox1-null mouse embryos devoid of lymph sacs and lymphatic vasculature, and in E17.5 Prox1 conditional mutant embryos, which have defective lymph sacs. However, subsequent clustering of hematopoietic cells within these developing lymph nodes is less efficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Lymph nodes
  • Lymph sacs
  • Lymphatic endothelial cells
  • Lymphoid tissue inducer cell
  • PROX1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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