J. Brandon Dixon, Ph.D. (ME/Georgia Institute of Technology)
Andrés J. García, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology)
C. Ross Ethier, PhD (BME/(Georgia Institute of Technology)
Michael Davis, PhD (BME/Georgia Institute of Technology & Emory University)
Mariappan Muthuchamy (Medical Physiology/Texas A&M)
Role of Mechanical Microenvironment on the Regulation of Lymphatic Function and Health
Failure of lymph fluid transport plays an important role in pathologies, such as lymphedema and lymphacele after organ donation. The lymphatic system plays a critical role in maintaining fluid homeostasis in all of the soft tissue of the body. Its ability to transport interstitial fluid is partially dependent on the intrinsic pumping capacity of lymphatic smooth muscle cells. Recently, our lab has shown that lymphatic collecting vessels near an injury never return to pre-injury levels of pumping and lymph transport, but factors that impact collecting vessel phenotype are poorly understood. The central hypothesis of this work is that the components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and mechanics of the lymphatic microenvironment play a central role in the contractile phenotype of lymphatic muscle cells (LMCs).