Blood Journal
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The murine allantois: a model system for the study of blood vessel formation

  1. Ripla Arora1 and
  2. Virginia E. Papaioannou1
  1. 1Department of Genetics and Development, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY


The allantois is the embryonic precursor of the umbilical cord in mammals and is one of several embryonic regions, including the yolk sac and dorsal aorta, that undergoes vasculogenesis, the de novo formation of blood vessels. Despite its importance in establishing the chorioallantoic placenta and umbilical circulation, the allantois frequently is overlooked in embryologic studies. Nonetheless, recent studies demonstrate that vasculogenesis, vascular remodeling, and angiogenesis are essential allantois functions in the establishment of the chorioallantoic placenta. Here, we review blood vessel formation in the murine allantois, highlighting the expression of genes and involvement of pathways common to vasculogenesis or angiogenesis in other parts of the embryo. We discuss experimental techniques available for manipulation of the allantois that are unavailable for yolk sac or dorsal aorta, and review how this system has been used as a model system to discover new genes and mechanisms involved in vessel formation. Finally, we discuss the potential of the allantois as a model system to provide insights into disease and therapeutics.

  • Submitted March 9, 2012.
  • Accepted July 6, 2012.
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