Modeling lymphangiogenesis in a three-dimensional culture system
Bruyère, Françoise Melen-Lamalle, Laurence Blacher, Silvia Roland, Guy Thiry, Marc Moons, Lieve Frankenne, Francis Carmeliet, Peter Alitalo, Kari Libert, Claude Sleeman, Jonathan P Foidart, Jean-Michel Noël, Agnès # ×
Nature Pub. Group
Nature Methods vol:5 issue:5 pages:431-437
A lack of appropriate in vitro models of three-dimensional lymph vessel growth hampers the study of lymphangiogenesis. We developed a lymphatic ring assay--a potent, reproducible and quantifiable three-dimensional culture system for lymphatic endothelial cells that reproduces spreading of endothelial cells from a pre-existing vessel, cell proliferation, migration and differentiation into capillaries. In the assay, mouse thoracic duct fragments are embedded in a collagen gel, leading to the formation of lumen-containing lymphatic capillaries, which we assessed by electron microscopy and immunostaining. We developed a computerized method to quantify the lymphatic network. By applying this model to gene-deficient mice, we found evidence for involvement of the matrix metalloproteinase, MMP-2, in lymphangiogenesis. The lymphatic ring assay bridges the gap between two-dimensional in vitro models and in vivo models of lymphangiogenesis, can be used to exploit the potential of existing transgenic mouse models, and rapidly identify regulators of lymphangiogenesis.