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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 804675, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/804675
Review Article

Lymphedema and Therapeutic Lymphangiogenesis

1Department of Vascular Surgery, Asahikawa Medical University, 2-1-1-1 Midorigaoka-Higashi, Asahikawa, Hokkaido 078-8510, Japan
2Division of Vascular Medicine and Epigenetics, Department of Child Development, United Graduate School of Child Development, Osaka University, Kanazawa University, and Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 2-1 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
3Division of Gene Therapy Science, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
4Department of Clinical Gene Therapy, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan

Received 19 August 2013; Accepted 13 September 2013

Academic Editor: Ken Suzuki

Copyright © 2013 Yukihiro Saito et al. 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.

Abstract

Lymphedema is a disorder of the lymphatic vascular system characterized by impaired lymphatic return and swelling of the extremities. Lymphedema is divided into primary and secondary forms based on the underlying etiology. Despite substantial advances in both surgical and conservative techniques, therapeutic options for the management of lymphedema are limited. Although rarely lethal, lymphedema is a disfiguring and disabling condition with an associated decrease in the quality of life. The recent impressive expansion of knowledge on the molecular mechanisms governing lymphangiogenesis provides new possibilities for the treatment of lymphedema. This review highlights the lymphatic biology, the pathophysiology of lymphedema, and the therapeutic lymphangiogenesis using hepatocyte growth factor.