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Eda I. Altiok, Sammy Grimaldo, Don Yuen, Lu Chen; Role of Integrin Alpha 9 in Lymphatic Endothelial Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):2396.
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Lymphatic research has experienced exponential growth in recent years. Lymphatic dysfunction is associated with a wide array of conditions and disorders including cancer metastasis, transplant rejection, and lymphedema. Most recently, we have provided the first evidence that newly formed lymphatic vessels in the cornea develop integrin alpha 9 (Itga9) positive valves. Composed of two layers of lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC), these valves are important in maintaining proper lymph flow. The purpose of this study was to further investigate the specific role of Itga9 in LECs in vitro.
Human primary microdermal LECs were transfected with small interfering RNA (siRNA) against Itga9 or nonspecific scramble control. Gene knockdown efficiency was analyzed through western blot and RT-PCR assays. The effect of Itga9 gene knockdown on cell proliferation, migration, and tube formation was analyzed.
Itga9 expression in LECs was significantly down-regulated through siRNA transfection. LECs lacking Itga9 demonstrated a significant suppression on proliferation, migration as well as tube formation on Matrigel.
These new findings indicate that Itga9 is critically involved in LEC functions. Further studies on this pathway may provide novel insights and therapeutic strategies for lymphatic-related disorders, which occur both inside and outside the eye.
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