VEGF-C promotes the development of lymphatics in bone and bone loss

Devon Hominick, Asitha Silva, Noor Khurana, Ying Liu, Paul C. Dechow, Jian Q. Feng, Bronislaw Pytowski, Joseph M. Rutkowski, Kari Alitalo, Michael T. Dellinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Patients with Gorham-Stout disease (GSD) have lymphatic vessels in their bones and their bones gradually disappear. Here, we report that mice that overexpress VEGF-C in bone exhibit a phenotype that resembles GSD. To drive VEGF-C expression in bone, we generated Osx-tTA;TetO-Vegfc double-transgenic mice. In contrast to Osx-tTA mice, Osx-tTA;TetO-Vegfc mice developed lymphatics in their bones. We found that inhibition of VEGFR3, but not VEGFR2, prevented the formation of bone lymphatics in Osx-tTA;TetO-Vegfc mice. Radiological and histological analysis revealed that bones from Osx-tTA;TetO-Vegfc mice were more porous and had more osteoclasts than bones from Osx-tTA mice. Importantly, we found that bone loss in Osx-tTA; TetO-Vegfc mice could be attenuated by an osteoclast inhibitor. We also discovered that the mutant phenotype of Osx-tTA;TetO-Vegfc mice could be reversed by inhibiting the expression of VEGF-C. Taken together, our results indicate that expression of VEGF-C in bone is sufficient to induce the pathologic hallmarks of GSD in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere34323
StatePublished - Apr 5 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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