Infection-induced lymphatic zippering restricts fluid transport and viral dissemination from skin

Madeline J. Churchill, Haley du Bois, Taylor A. Heim, Tenny Mudianto, Maria M. Steele, Jeffrey C. Nolz, Amanda W. Lund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Lymphatic vessels are often considered passive conduits that flush antigenic material, pathogens, and cells to draining lymph nodes. Recent evidence, however, suggests that lymphatic vessels actively regulate diverse processes from antigen transport to leukocyte trafficking and dietary lipid absorption. Here we tested the hypothesis that infection-induced changes in lymphatic transport actively contribute to innate host defense. We demonstrate that cutaneous vaccinia virus infection by scarification activates dermal lymphatic capillary junction tightening (zippering) and lymph node lymphangiogenesis, which are associated with reduced fluid transport and cutaneous viral sequestration. Lymphatic-specific deletion of VEGFR2 prevented infectioninduced lymphatic capillary zippering, increased fluid flux out of tissue, and allowed lymphatic dissemination of virus. Further, a reduction in dendritic cell migration to lymph nodes in the absence of lymphatic VEGFR2 associated with reduced antiviral CD8+ T cell expansion. These data indicate that VEGFR2-driven lymphatic remodeling is a context-dependent, active mechanism of innate host defense that limits viral dissemination and facilitates protective, antiviral CD8+ T cell responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20211830
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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