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Angiogenesis. 1999;3(4):335-44.

An in vitro model of angiogenesis: basic features.

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BioCuRe Ltd, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, UK.


This report describes a model of angiogenesis which develops in admixtures (co-cultures) of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and human diploid fibroblasts of dermal origin from adult patients. The system does not require the addition of further growth factors other than those normally present in endothelial growth medium (EGM), nor matrix proteins, and cell growth and proliferation are allowed to occur in a standard low (2%) concentration of fetal calf serum. Angiogenesis was specifically stimulated in response to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), resulting in an increased development of structures resembling a microvasculature bed. Alternatively, angiogenesis was inhibited by addition of an excess of neutralising anti-VEGF antibodies, and the anti-angiogenic drugs such as suramin. We briefly show that stimulatory and inhibitory activities can be easily and quickly quantified by image analysis. Tubule formation was confirmed by confocal and electron microscopy, and the development and disposition of these structures within the co-cultures has been analysed immunochemically to show expression of specific endothelial cell determinants, such as PECAM-1. On this and a number of other criteria, the findings validate this in vitro process as a model of in vivo angiogenesis that can be quantified to assay stimulatory and inhibitory agents, signals and drugs.

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