NYMC Faculty Publications

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PLoS One

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Cardiac lymphatic vasculature undergoes substantial expansion in response to myocardial infarction (MI). However, there is limited information on the cellular mechanisms mediating post-MI lymphangiogenesis and accompanying fibrosis in the infarcted adult heart. Using a mouse model of permanent coronary artery ligation, we examined spatiotemporal changes in the expression of lymphendothelial and mesenchymal markers in the acutely and chronically infarcted myocardium. We found that at the time of wound granulation, a three-fold increase in the frequency of podoplanin-labeled cells occurred in the infarcted hearts compared to non-operated and sham-operated counterparts. Podoplanin immunoreactivity detected LYVE-1-positive lymphatic vessels, as well as masses of LYVE-1-negative cells dispersed between myocytes, predominantly in the vicinity of the infarcted region. Podoplanin-carrying populations displayed a mesenchymal progenitor marker PDGFRalpha, and intermittently expressed Prox-1, a master regulator of the lymphatic endothelial fate. At the stages of scar formation and maturation, concomitantly with the enlargement of lymphatic network in the injured myocardium, the podoplanin-rich LYVE-1-negative multicellular assemblies were apparent in the fibrotic area, aligned with extracellular matrix deposits, or located in immediate proximity to activated blood vessels with high VEGFR-2 content. Of note, these podoplanin-containing cells acquired the expression of PDGFRbeta or a hematoendothelial epitope CD34. Although Prox-1 labeling was abundant in the area affected by MI, the podoplanin-presenting cells were not consistently Prox-1-positive. The concordance of podoplanin with VEGFR-3 similarly varied. Thus, our data reveal previously unknown phenotypic and structural heterogeneity within the podoplanin-positive cell compartment in the infarcted heart, and suggest an alternate ability of podoplanin-presenting cardiac cells to generate lymphatic endothelium and pro-fibrotic cells, contributing to scar development.

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Originally published in PLoS One, 12 (3), e0173927. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0173927

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.