Microanatomy of the intestinal lymphatic system

Mark J. Miller, Jeremiah R. Mcdole, Rodney D. Newberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The intestinal lymphatic system comprises two noncommunicating lymphatic networks: one containing the lacteals draining the villi and the connecting submucosal lymphatic network and one containing the lymphatics that drain the intestine muscular layer. These systems deliver lymph into a common network of collecting lymphatics originating near the mesenteric border. The intestinal lymphatic system serves vital functions in the regulation of tissue fluid homeostasis, immune surveillance, and the transport of nutrients; conversely, this system is affected by, and directly contributes to, disease processes within the intestine. Recent discoveries of specific lymphatic markers, factors promoting lymphangiogenesis, and factors selectively affecting the development of intestinal lymphatics, hold promise for unlocking the role of lymphatics in the pathogenesis of diseases affecting the intestine and for intestinal lymphatic selective therapies. Vital to progress in understanding how the intestinal lymphatic system functions is the integration of recent advances identifying molecular pathways for lymphatic growth and remodeling with advanced imaging modalities to observe lymphatic function and dysfunction in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E21-E28
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Immunology
  • Intestine
  • Lymphatics
  • Microscopy

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