As an integral part of the vascular system, the lymphatic vasculature is essential for tissue fluid homeostasis, nutritional lipid assimilation and immune regulation. The composition of the lymphatic vasculature includes fluid-absorbing initial lymphatic vessels (LVs), transporting collecting vessels and anti-regurgitation valves. Although, in recent decades, research has drastically enlightened our view of LVs, investigations of initial LVs, also known as lymphatic capillaries, have been stagnant due to technical limitations. In the kidney, the lymphatic vasculature mainly presents in the cortex, keeping the local balance of fluid, solutes and immune cells. The contribution of renal LVs to various forms of pathology, especially chronic kidney diseases, has been addressed in previous studies, however with diverging and inconclusive results. In this review, we discuss the most recent advances in the proliferation and permeability of lymphatic capillaries as well as their influencing factors. Novel technologies to visualize and measure LVs function are described. Then, we highlight the role of the lymphatic network in renal fibrosis and the crosstalk between kidney and other organs, such as gut and heart.
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