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See detailModeling Lymphangiogenesis in a three-dimensional culture system
Bruyere, Françoise; Melen-Lamalle, Laurence; Blacher, Silvia ULg et al

in Nature Methods (2008), 5(5), 431-437

Unraveling the molecular mechanisms of lymphangiogenesis is hampered by the lack of appropriate in vitro models of three-dimensional (3D) lymph vessel growth which can be used to exploit the potential of ... [more ▼]

Unraveling the molecular mechanisms of lymphangiogenesis is hampered by the lack of appropriate in vitro models of three-dimensional (3D) lymph vessel growth which can be used to exploit the potential of available transgenic mice. We developed a potent reproducible and quantifiable 3D-culture system of lymphatic endothelial cells, the lymphatic ring assay, bridging the gap between 2D-in vitro and in vivo models of lymphangiogenesis. Mice thoracic duct fragments are embedded in a collagen gel leading to the formation of lymphatic capillaries containing a lumen as assessed by electron microscopy and immunostaining. This assay phenocopies the different steps of lymphangiogenesis, including the spreading from a preexisting vessel, cell proliferation, migration and differentiation into capillaries. Our study provides evidence for the implication of an individual matrix metalloproteinase, MMP-2, during lymphangiogenesis. The lymphatic ring assay is a robust, quantifiable and reproducible system which offers new opportunities for rapid identification of unknown regulators of lymphangiogenesis. [less ▲]

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See detailMouse Aortic Ring Assay: A New Approach of the Molecular Genetics of Angiogenesis
Masson, Véronique ULg; Devy, L.; Grignet-Debrus, Christine ULg et al

in Biological Procedures Online (2002), 4

Angiogenesis, a key step in many physiological and pathological processes, involves proteolysis of the extracellular matrix. To study the role of two enzymatic families, serine-proteases and matrix ... [more ▼]

Angiogenesis, a key step in many physiological and pathological processes, involves proteolysis of the extracellular matrix. To study the role of two enzymatic families, serine-proteases and matrix metalloproteases in angiogenesis, we have adapted to the mouse, the aortic ring assay initially developed in the rat. The use of deficient mice allowed us to demonstrate that PAI-1 is essential for angiogenesis while the absence of an MMP, MMP-11, did not affect vessel sprouting. We report here that this model is attractive to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis, to identify, characterise or screen "pro- or anti-angiogenic agents that could be used for the treatment of angiogenesis-dependent diseases. Approaches include using recombinant proteins, synthetic molecules and adenovirus-mediated gene transfer. [less ▲]

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See detailImproved Quantification of Angiogenesis in the Rat Aortic Ring Assay
Blacher, Silvia ULg; Devy, L.; Burbridge, M. F. et al

in Angiogenesis (2001), 4(2), 133-42

In vitro angiogenesis assays are essential for the identification of potential angiogenic agents and screening for pharmacological inhibitors. Among these assays, the rat aortic ring model developed by ... [more ▼]

In vitro angiogenesis assays are essential for the identification of potential angiogenic agents and screening for pharmacological inhibitors. Among these assays, the rat aortic ring model developed by Nicosia bridges the gap between in vivo and in vitro models. The quantification of angiogenesis on this system must be applicable to characterise vascular networks of various states of complexity. We present here an improved computer-assisted image analysis which allows: (1) the determination of the aortic ring area and its factor shape; (2) the number of microvessels, the total number of branchings, the maximal microvessel length and the microvessel distribution; (3) the total number of isolated fibroblast-like cells and their distribution. We show that this method is suitable to quantify spontaneous angiogenesis as well as to analyse a complex microvascular network induced by various concentrations of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In addition, by evaluating a new parameter, the fibroblast-like cell distribution, our results show that: (1) during spontaneous angiogenic response, maximal fibroblast-like cell migration delimits microvascular outgrowth; and (2) the known angiogenic inhibitor Batimastat prevents endothelial cell sprouting without completely blocking fibroblast-like cell migration. Finally, this new method of quantification is of great interest to better understand angiogenesis and to test pro- or anti-angiogenic agents. [less ▲]

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