Dynamics of the developing chick Chorioallantoic membrane assessed by Stereology, allometry, Immunohistochemistry and molecular analysis.
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The chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) is a widely used model for the study of angiogenesis, tumour growth, as well as drug efficacy. In spite of this, little is known about the developmental alteration from its appearance to the time of hatching. In the current study the CAM has been studied by classical stereology and allometry. Expression levels of selected angiogenesis-related molecules were estimated by RT-PCR and cell dynamics assessed by proliferation and apoptosis assays. Absolute CAM volume increased from a low of 0.47 ± 0.11 cm3 at embryonic day 8 (E8) to a high of 2.05 ± 0.27 cm3 at E18, and then decreased to 1.6 ± 0.47 cm3 at E20. On allometric analysis, three growth phases were identifiable. Between E8-13 (phase I), the CAM grew fastest; moderately in phase II (E13-18) but was regressing in phase III (E18-20). The chorion, the mesenchyme and the allantoic layers grew fastest in phase I, but moderately in phase II. The mesenchyme grew slowly in phase III while the chorion and allantois were regressing. Chorionic cell volume increased fastest in phase I and was regressing in phase III. Chorionic capillaries grew steadily in phase I and II but regressed in phase III. Both the chorion and the allantois grew by intrinsic cell proliferation as well as recruitment of cells from the mesenchyme. Cell proliferation was prominent in the allantois and chorion early during development, declined after E17 and apoptosis started mainly in the chorion from E14. VEGFR2 expression peaked at E11 and declined steadily towards E20, VEGF peaked at E13 and E20 while HIF 1α had a peak at E11 and E20. Studies targeting CAM growth and angiogenesis need to take these growth phases into consideration
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