Parabiosis-conjoined surgery to provide a shared circulation between two mice-has been previously developed to study the hematopoietic system. This protocol describes the use of parabiosis for efficient transplantation of skin from a transgenic to a wild-type mouse. It can be used to study the role of stromal cells in a spontaneous model of distant cancer dissemination (metastasis). We have recently shown that primary tumor-derived stromal cells may facilitate metastasis by providing a provisional stroma at the secondary site. Studying the role of primary tumor-derived stroma cells requires methods for distinguishing and targeting stromal cells originating from the primary tumor versus their counterparts in the metastatic site. Parabiosis may also be used, taking advantage of the shared circulation between the parabiosed mice, to study tumor metastasis from one parabiont to another, or to investigate the role of circulating inflammatory cells or stem cells. Studying the role of stromal cells in metastasis using this model typically takes up to 11 weeks.
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