A river runs through it: blood and lymphatic vessel formation in the extracellular matrix
Blood and lymph travel through the body in blood and lymphatic vessels, respectively, which form intricate networks throughout the tissues. Blood transports gases, nutrients and metabolic waste. The lymphatic system drains excess fluids and proteins from the body’s tissues and returns them to the bloodstream, preventing swelling. Researchers recently showed that the stiffness of the extracellular matrix (ECM) affects the formation of new lymph vessels. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the STRomA project is investigating the role of ECM stiffness in the formation of new capillaries and lymphatic vessels, with the goal of highlighting mechanistic similarities and differences.