Quantification of Angiogenesis and Lymphangiogenesis in the Dual ex vivo Aortic and Thoracic Duct Assay

Author(s): Shuangyong Wang, Michael Yamakawa, Samuel M. Santosa, Neeraj Chawla, Kai Guo, Mario Montana, Joelle A. Hallak, Kyu-Yeon Han, Masatsugu Ema, Mark I. Rosenblatt, Jin-Hong Chang*, Dimitri T. Azar*.

Journal Name: Protein & Peptide Letters

Volume 27 , Issue 1 , 2020

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Lymphatic vessel formation (lymphangiogenesis) plays important roles in cancer metastasis, organ rejection, and lymphedema, but the underlying molecular events remain unclear. Furthermore, despite significant overlap in the molecular families involved in angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis, little is known about the crosstalk between these processes. The ex vivo aortic ring assay and lymphatic ring assay have enabled detailed studies of vessel sprouting, but harvesting and imaging clear thoracic duct samples remain challenging. Here we present a modified ex vivo dual aortic ring and thoracic duct assay using tissues from dual fluorescence reporter Prox1- GFP/Flt1-DsRed (PGFD) mice, which permit simultaneous visualization of blood and lymphatic endothelial cells.

Objective: To characterize the concurrent sprouting of intrinsically fluorescent blood and lymphatic vessels from harvested aorta and thoracic duct samples.

Methods: Dual aorta and thoracic duct specimens were harvested from PGFD mice, grown in six types of endothelial cell growth media (one control, five that each lack a specific growth factor), and visualized by confocal fluorescence microscopy. Linear mixed models were used to compare the extent of vessel growth and sprouting over a 28-day period.

Results: Angiogenesis occurred prior to lymphangiogenesis in our assay. The control medium generally induced superior growth of both vessel types compared with the different modified media formulations. The greatest decrease in lymphangiogenesis was observed in vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C)-devoid medium, suggesting the importance of VEGF-C in lymphangiogenesis.

Conclusion: The modified ex vivo dual aortic ring and thoracic duct assay represents a powerful tool for studying angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in concert.

Keywords: Thoracic duct, aorta, lymphangiogenesis, angiogenesis, VEGF, cancer metastasis.

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Year: 2020
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