The Role of Lymphatic Vascular Function in Metabolic Disorders

Pieter R. Norden*, Tsutomu Kume

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In addition to its roles in the maintenance of interstitial fluid homeostasis and immunosurveillance, the lymphatic system has a critical role in regulating transport of dietary lipids to the blood circulation. Recent work within the past two decades has identified an important relationship between lymphatic dysfunction and patients with metabolic disorders, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, in part characterized by abnormal lipid metabolism and transport. Utilization of several genetic mouse models, as well as non-genetic models of diet-induced obesity and metabolic syndrome, has demonstrated that abnormal lymphangiogenesis and poor collecting vessel function, characterized by impaired contractile ability and perturbed barrier integrity, underlie lymphatic dysfunction relating to obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Despite the progress made by these models, the contribution of the lymphatic system to metabolic disorders remains understudied and new insights into molecular signaling mechanisms involved are continuously developing. Here, we review the current knowledge related to molecular mechanisms resulting in impaired lymphatic function within the context of obesity and diabetes. We discuss the role of inflammation, transcription factor signaling, vascular endothelial growth factor-mediated signaling, and nitric oxide signaling contributing to impaired lymphangiogenesis and perturbed lymphatic endothelial cell barrier integrity, valve function, and contractile ability in collecting vessels as well as their viability as therapeutic targets to correct lymphatic dysfunction and improve metabolic syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number404
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
StatePublished - May 5 2020


  • inflammation
  • lymphatic
  • metabolic syndrome
  • nitrous oxide
  • obesity
  • transcription factor
  • vascular endothelial growth factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of Lymphatic Vascular Function in Metabolic Disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this