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Nat Methods. 2008 May;5(5):439-45. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1198. Epub 2008 Apr 6.

Spheroid-based engineering of a human vasculature in mice.

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  • 1Joint Research Division Vascular Biology of the Medical Faculty Mannheim (CBTM), University of Heidelberg, Ludolph-Krehl-Str. 11-14, D-68167 Mannheim, Germany.


The complexity of the angiogenic cascade limits cellular approaches to studying angiogenic endothelial cells (ECs). In turn, in vivo assays do not allow the analysis of the distinct cellular behavior of ECs during angiogenesis. Here we show that ECs can be grafted as spheroids into a matrix to give rise to a complex three-dimensional network of human neovessels in mice. The grafted vasculature matures and is connected to the mouse circulation. The assay is highly versatile and facilitates numerous applications including studies of the effects of different cytokines on angiogenesis. Modifications make it possible to study human lymphangiogenic processes in vivo. EC spheroids can also be coimplanted with other cell types for tissue engineering purposes.

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