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J Vis Exp January 1, 2017; (123):

Visualization and Quantitative Analysis of Embryonic Angiogenesis in Xenopus tropicalis.

Blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, and the formation of the vascular network is under tight developmental control. The efficient in vivo visualization of blood vessels and the reliable quantification of their complexity are key to understanding the biology and disease of the vascular network. Here, we provide a detailed method to visualize blood vessels with a commercially available fluorescent dye, human plasma acetylated low density lipoprotein DiI complex (DiI-AcLDL), and to quantify their complexity in Xenopus tropicalis. Blood vessels can be labeled by a simple injection of DiI-AcLDL into the beating heart of an embryo, and blood vessels in the entire embryo can be imaged in live or fixed embryos. Combined with gene perturbation by the targeted microinjection of nucleic acids and/or the bath application of pharmacological reagents, the roles of a gene or of a signaling pathway on vascular development can be investigated within one week without resorting to sophisticated genetically engineered animals. Because of the well-defined venous system of Xenopus and its stereotypic angiogenesis, the sprouting of pre-existing vessels, vessel complexity can be quantified efficiently after perturbation experiments. This relatively simple protocol should serve as an easily accessible tool in diverse fields of cardiovascular research.

PubMed ID: 28570535
PMC ID: PMC5608140
Article link: J Vis Exp

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