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A thin layer angiogenesis assay: a modified basement matrix assay for assessment of endothelial cell differentiation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ashton Faulkner, Robert Purcell, Andrew Hibbert, Sally Latham, Scott Thomson, Wendy Hall, Caroline P Wheeler-Jones, David Bishop-Bailey

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Cell Biology
Volume15
DOIs
Published5 Dec 2014

King's Authors

Abstract

Background
Basement matrices such as Matrigel™ and Geltrex™ are used in a variety of cell culture assays of anchorage-dependent differentiation including endothelial cell tube formation assays. The volumes of matrix recommended for these assays (approximately 150 μl/cm2) are costly, limit working distances for microscopy, and require cell detachment for subsequent molecular analysis. Here we describe the development and validation of a thin-layer angiogenesis (TLA) assay for assessing the angiogenic potential of endothelial cells that overcomes these limitations.

Results
Geltrex™ basement matrix at 5 μl/cm2 in 24-well (10 μl) or 96-well (2 μl) plates supports endothelial cell differentiation into tube-like structures in a comparable manner to the standard larger volumes of matrix. Since working distances are reduced, high-resolution single cell microscopy, including DIC and confocal imaging, can be used readily. Using MitoTracker dye we now demonstrate, for the first time, live mitochondrial dynamics and visualise the 3-dimensional network of mitochondria present in differentiated endothelial cells. Using a standard commercial total RNA extraction kit (Qiagen) we also show direct RNA extraction and RT-qPCR from differentiated endothelial cells without the need to initially detach cells from their supporting matrix.

Conclusions
We present here a new thin-layer assay (TLA) for measuring the anchorage-dependent differentiation of endothelial cells into tube-like structures which retains all the characteristics of the traditional approach but with the added benefit of a greatly lowered cost and better compatibility with other techniques, including RT-qPCR and high-resolution microscopy.

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