The abnormal development or disruption of the lymphatic vasculature has been implicated in metabolic and hypertensive diseases. Recent evidence suggests that the offspring exposed to preeclampsia (PE) in utero are at higher risk of long-term health problems, such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in adulthood, owing to in utero fetal programming. We aimed to investigate lymphangiogenic activities in the lymphatic endothelial progenitor cells (LEPCs) of the offspring of PE. Human umbilical cord blood LEPCs from pregnant women with severe PE (n
= 10) and gestationally matched normal pregnancies (n
= 10) were purified with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 (VEGFR3)/podoplanin/CD11b microbeads using a magnetic cell sorter device. LEPCs from PE displayed significantly delayed differentiation and reduced formation of lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) colonies compared with the LEPCs from normal pregnancies. LECs differentiated from PE-derived LEPCs exhibited decreased tube formation, migration, proliferation, adhesion, wound healing, and 3D-sprouting activities as well as increased lymphatic permeability through the disorganization of VE-cadherin junctions, compared with the normal pregnancy-derived LECs. In vivo, LEPCs from PE showed significantly reduced lymphatic vessel formation compared to the LEPCs of the normal pregnancy. Gene expression analysis revealed that compared to the normal pregnancy-derived LECs, the PE-derived LECs showed a significant decrease in the expression of pro-lymphangiogenic genes (GREM1
, and GBX2
). Collectively, our findings demonstrate, for the first time, that LEPCs from PE have reduced lymphangiogenic activities in vitro and in vivo and show the decreased expression of pro-lymphangiogenic genes. This study opens a new avenue for investigation of the molecular mechanism of LEPC differentiation and lymphangiogenesis in the offspring of PE and subsequently may impact the treatment of long-term health problems such as cardiovascular and metabolic disorders of offspring with abnormal development of lymphatic vasculature.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited