The fetal mouse metatarsal bone explant as a model of angiogenesis.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Weihua Song
  • Chee Wai Fhu
  • Koon Hwee Ang
  • Cheng Hao Liu
  • Nurul Azizah Binte Johari
  • Daniel Lio
  • Wanjin Hong
  • Stephen E Moss
  • John Greenwood
  • Xiaomeng Wang


The mouse fetal metatarsal provides a unique tool for studying angiogenesis. In comparison with other commonly used in vitro or ex vivo angiogenesis assays, vessel outgrowth from mouse fetal metatarsals is more representative of sprouting angiogensis in vivo. It allows the analysis of blood vessel growth, and the mechanisms underpinning this process, in a multicellular microenvironment that drives the formation of a robust and complex vascular network in the absence of exogenous growth factors. By labeling different constituents of the vascular structure, it is possible to perform 3D rendering of the spatial interplay between different cellular components and to carry out quantitative analysis of vessel outgrowth. High-resolution imaging permits the visualization of fine structural and cellular details. As the assay involves the use of fetal tissues, it is possible to follow new blood vessel formation in genetically modified mice that are perinatally lethal. The entire process takes 9-13 d. A detailed description of how to set up and perform the assay is described here.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature protocols
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015