Chorioallantoic Membrane Assay as Model for Angiogenesis in Tissue Engineering: Focus on Stem Cells

Greet Merckx, Hanna Tay, Melissa Lo Monaco, Marc Van Zandvoort, Ward De Spiegelaere, Ivo Lambrichts, Annelies Bronckaers

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Tissue engineering aims to structurally and functionally regenerate damaged tissues, which requires the formation of new blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients by the process of angiogenesis. Stem cells are a promising tool in regenerative medicine due to their combined differentiation and paracrine angiogenic capacities. The study of their proangiogenic properties and associated potential for tissue regeneration requires complex in vivo models comprising all steps of the angiogenic process. The highly vascularized extraembryonic chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of fertilized chicken eggs offers a simple, easy accessible, and cheap angiogenic screening tool compared to other animal models. Although the CAM assay was initially primarily performed for evaluation of tumor growth and metastasis, stem cell studies using this model are increasing. In this review, a detailed summary of angiogenic observations of different mesenchymal, cardiac, and endothelial stem cell types and derivatives in the CAM model is presented. Moreover, we focus on the variation in experimental setup, including the benefits and limitations of in ovo and ex ovo protocols, diverse biological and synthetic scaffolds, imaging techniques, and outcome measures of neovascularization. Finally, advantages and disadvantages of the CAM assay as a model for angiogenesis in tissue engineering in comparison with alternative in vivo animal models are described. The chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay is an easy and cheap screening tool for the angiogenic properties of stem cells and their associated potential in the tissue engineering field. This review offers an overview of all published angiogenic studies of stem cells using this model, with emphasis on the variation in used experimental timeline, culture protocol (in ovo vs. ex ovo), stem cell type (derivatives), scaffolds, and outcome measures of vascularization. The purpose of this overview is to aid tissue engineering researchers to determine the ideal CAM experimental setup based on their specific study goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-539
Number of pages21
JournalTissue Engineering. Part B. Reviews
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • angiogenesis
  • chorioallantoic membrane assay
  • stem cells
  • tissue engineering


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