In vitro 3D collective sprouting angiogenesis under orchestrated ANG-1 and VEGF gradients

Lab Chip. 2011 Jul 7;11(13):2175-81. doi: 10.1039/c1lc20039a. Epub 2011 May 26.


Sprouting angiogenesis requires a coordinated guidance from a variety of angiogenic factors. Here, we have developed a unique hydrogel incorporating microfluidic platform which mimics the physiological microenvironment in 3D under a precisely orchestrated gradient of soluble angiogenic factors, VEGF and ANG-1. The system enables the quantified investigation in chemotactic response of endothelial cells during the collective angiogenic sprouting process. While the presence of a VEGF gradient alone was sufficient in inducing a greater number of tip cells, addition of ANG-1 to the VEGF gradient enhanced the number of tip cells that are attached to collectively migrated stalk cells. The chemotactic response of tip cells attracted by the VEGF gradient and the stabilizing role of ANG-1 were morphologically investigated, elucidating the 3D co-operative migration of tip and stalk cells as well as their structures. We found that ANG-1 enhanced the connection of the stalk cells with the tip cells, and then the direct connection regulated the morphogenesis and/or life cycle of stalk cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiopoietin-1 / metabolism
  • Angiopoietin-1 / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Diffusion
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / pharmacology*


  • Angiopoietin-1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A