Xenograft models allow for an in vivo approach to monitor cellular functions within the context of a host microenvironment. Here we describe a protocol to generate a xenograft model of venous malformation (VM) based on the use of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) expressing a constitutive active form of the endothelial tyrosine kinase receptor TEK (TIE2 p.L914F) or patient-derived EC containing TIE2 and/or PIK3CA gene mutations. Hyperactive somatic TIE2 and PIK3CA mutations are a common hallmark of VM in patient lesions. The EC are injected subcutaneously on the back of athymic nude mice to generate ectatic vascular channels and recapitulate histopathological features of VM patient tissue histology. Lesion plugs with TIE2/PIK3CA-mutant EC are visibly vascularized within 7-9 days of subcutaneous injection, making this a great tool to study venous malformation.
Keywords: Endothelial cells; TIE2; Venous malformation; Xenograft model.