Nearly all tissues are supported by the lymphatic system for a variety of functions, including the regulation of fluid balance, the removal of particulate matter from the interstitium, as well as the transport of fat from the intestine to the blood, among others. Despite these important functions, very little is known about the particular mechanisms through which the lymphatics fulfill these roles. Lymphedema, a chronic disease characterized by an inability of the lymphatics to maintain tissue homeostasis and estimated to affect over 130 million people worldwide, can result in serious clinical problems for which there are very few beneficial cures or therapies [1]. While fluid stagnation is the primary clinical manifestation of the disease, severe lymphedema is often correlated with tissue remodeling and the gross accumulation of lipid [1]. Given these symptoms, one must consider the breakdown in the lymphatic response to mechanical load (i.e. fluid balance) in order to understand the progression of the disease.

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