Damaged lymphatic networks can be repaired combining growth factor gene therapy and lymph node transfer

Lymphedema after surgery, infection, or radiation therapy is a common and often incurable problem. Application of lymphangiogenic growth factors has been shown to induce lymphangiogenesis and to reduce tissue edema.

In a study published in the January issue of Circulation, researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and colleagues from other Finnish universities evaluated the therapeutic effect of autologous lymph node transfer combined with adenoviral growth factor expression in a newly established porcine model of limb lymphedema.

The researchers destroyed lymphatic vasculature within a 3-cm radius around an inguinal lymph node and used lymph node grafts and adenovirally delivered vascular endothelial growth factor VEGF-C or VEGF-D to reconstruct the lymphatic network in the inguinal area while using AdLacZ (β-galactosidase) as a control. Both growth factors induced robust growth of new lymphatic vessels in the defect area, and postoperative lymphatic drainage was significantly improved in the VEGF-C/D–treated pigs compared with controls. The researchers discovered that the structure of the transferred lymph nodes was best preserved in the VEGF-C–treated pigs. Interestingly, VEGF-D transiently increased accumulation of seroma fluid in the operated inguinal region postoperatively, whereas VEGF-C did not have this side effect.

The results of the study show that growth factor gene therapy coupled with lymph node transfer can be used to repair damaged lymphatic networks in a large animal model and provide a basis for future clinical trials of the treatment of lymphedema.

For further information, please contact: Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala,
email: seppo.ylaherttuala (at) uef.fi

Original article:
Markku Lähteenvuo, MD; Krista Honkonen, MD; Tomi Tervala, MD; Tuomas Tammela, MD, PhD; Erkki Suominen, MD, PhD; Johanna Lähteenvuo, MD, PhD; Ivana Kholová, MD, PhD; Kari Alitalo, MD, PhD; Seppo Ylä-Herttuala, MD, PhD Anne Saaristo, MD, PhD. Growth Factor Therapy and Autologous Lymph Node Transfer in Lymphedema. Circulation. 2011;0.

Artikkelin kirjoitusvuosi: 2011

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