The molecular basis of lymphatic vessel development
In both the venous and the lymphatic sections the embryonic veins form the basis for vessel formation.
In an initial differentiation step in the young embryo a portion of the endothelial cells in certain regions of the cardinal vein system begins to produce special receptor molecules (Prox-1). This is the first step in the direction of lymphatic vessel determimation. Now follow further expressions of receptor patterns that are characteristic for either blood or lymhatic vessels and which are preserved even into adulthood.