A group of stem-cell biologists have grown an “organoid” that resembles a brain
REGENERATIVE medicine, the science of producing tissues and organs from stem cells, is a rapidly developing field.
This week, however, it took a leap forward that was big even by its own demanding standards. A team of researchers led by Madeline Lancaster of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, in Vienna, announced that they have grown things which, while not human brains, resemble brains in important ways.
Dr Lancaster’s organoids, as she calls them, are a far cry from the brains in jars beloved of the writers of horror movies. But they do contain several recognisably different types of nerve cell and have anatomical features which look like those of real brains. They might be used to study, in ways that would be unethical in a living human being or impossible even in a mouse, the crucial early stages of brain development, and how they can go wrong. They could be employed to test drugs in ways that mere cell cultures cannot be. And because they can be made, if needed, from the cells of living people, they might even illuminate the particular problems of individual patients.
To make an organoid, Dr Lancaster’s team start, as they describe in an article in Nature, with what is known as an embryoid body. Just as an organoid has some features of an organ without truly being one, so an embryoid body has some features of an embryo without actually being one. Embryoid bodies can be grown either from natural stem cells—themselves derived ultimately from real embryos—or from what are known as induced pluripotent cells, which are made from adult cells (usually skin cells) that have been treated with four crucial biochemical factors which cause them to forget their identity and behave like embryonic cells.
Embryos have three layers: endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm. Each turns into an eclectic mixture of body parts in the complete organism. Nervous systems grow from the ectoderm (which also contributes dental enamel and the skin’s epidermis, among other things), so the team put ectodermal cells into droplets of gel and then floated the droplets in a nutrient broth in a gently rotating bioreactor (which allowed the cells to grow without being shaped by the constraint of a vessel such as a Petri dish) to see what would happen.
Though the result (pictured above) may not look much like a brain to a layman, to an expert the resemblance is remarkable. After ten days the organoid has developed neurons. After 30 days it has regions recognisably similar to some of those in a real brain. And though, because they lack the blood supply of a real brain, organoids never grow much bigger than 4mm across, they live a long time. Some are now a year old and still going strong.
Real brains consist in large measure of layers of neurons called the cortex. This surrounds fluid-filled spaces known as ventricles. That is more or less the anatomy of an organoid. Many of them also contain areas which look like choroid plexuses. These are places that absorb nutrients from the bloodstream and dump waste into it. They also generate the cerebrospinal fluid that fills ventricles.
Signs of other structures turn up too. The various lobes of a real brain sport different mixtures of neurons. The team see signs of this in the organoids. They found evidence of retinas (the back of the eye is an outgrowth of the brain), of meninges (the membranes that surround the brain) and of hippocampal cells (the hippocampus is a part of the brain which is crucial for memory formation). The organoids, then, look as though they are making a fair fist of trying to become real brains.
So the method clearly works.
The Latest Bing News on:
- Temporal morphogen-driven neural induction spurs growth of expanded brain organoids with enhanced neuroepithelium formationon December 3, 2023 at 4:00 pm
In a recent study published in Nature Communications, researchers examinea the effects of temporal morphogen gradient during neural induction (NI) on the formation of brain organoids. Study: Temporal ...
- Developing more advanced renal organoids to model polycystic kidney diseaseon December 1, 2023 at 4:45 am
A team of CiRA researchers, building upon their previous work on differentiating iPS cells into kidney organoids, have made significant improvements to build a better model of kidney development and ...
- Progress to Living Molecular Cell Repair Organoids That Could Fix Neurons, Nerves and the Spinal Cordon November 30, 2023 at 4:00 pm
They have gotten tracheal cells to form coordinated groups called organoids that can propel themselves with tiny appendages. When added to wounded neurons in the lab, these anthrobots helped neurons ...
- Brain Mimics in a Dish: The Dawn of Next-Gen Organoids to Model Pediatric Brain Tumorson November 30, 2023 at 12:06 am
Researchers from the Princess Máxima Center and the Hubrecht Institute have developed advanced brain organoids that closely resemble the human cortex. These organoids, named Expanded Neuroepithelium ...
- Scientists grow heart organoids: a game-changer for pharmacotherapyon November 29, 2023 at 5:16 pm
They have successfully grown heart organoids, which are three-dimensional cell cultures resembling small tissue clumps to the naked eye. While it might seem like a feat of magic, these organoids can ...
- More Accurate Pediatric Brain Organoids Generatedon November 29, 2023 at 3:59 pm
Essential features of the cortex, an important part of the human brain and its development, are more accurately captured in organoids generated by researchers of the Princess Máxima Center for ...
- Miniature organs on chips could revolutionize health-care researchon November 29, 2023 at 12:06 pm
To understand how bodies work, medical researchers and scientists have created mini models of organs, called organoids. This field of scientific research has had profound impacts on biological ...
- Multi-Chambered Heart Organoids Allow Study of Organ Development and Defectson November 29, 2023 at 9:00 am
Cardioid platform will help scientists study how mutations, drugs, and environmental factors impact specific regions of the developing heart.
- First Multi-Chamber Heart Organoids Developedon November 28, 2023 at 4:00 pm
These self-organizing heart organoids, or Cardioids, recapitulated the development of the heart’s left ventricular chamber in the very early days of embryogenesis. “These Cardioids were a ...
- First multi-chamber heart organoids unravel human heart development and diseaseon November 28, 2023 at 8:00 am
Heart disease kills 18 million people each year, but the development of new therapies faces a bottleneck: no physiological model of the entire human heart exists—so far. A new multi-chamber organoid ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Organoids” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
The Latest Bing News on:
- ADA Forsyth scientists test novel technology to treat endodontic diseases more effectivelyon December 3, 2023 at 10:05 pm
Want to avoid a root canal? In the future, you might be able to opt for tissue regeneration instead. ADA Forsyth scientists are testing a novel technology to treat endodontic diseases (diseases of the ...
- Scientists work to bring tissue regeneration to replace root canal treatmenton December 3, 2023 at 5:45 am
Scientists are testing a novel technology to treat endodontic diseases more effectively through tissue regeneration instead of root canal therapy. Because the technology promotes formation of the type ...
- Rising Stars in Veterinary Regenerative Medicine: 2022on November 29, 2023 at 10:35 pm
Therefore, their health and welfare are of utmost importance and should be supported by all means available. The field of regenerative medicine offers new ... Veterinary patients, from companion to ...
- Insights in Veterinary Regenerative Medicine: 2022on November 29, 2023 at 10:35 pm
We are now entering the third decade of the 21st Century, and, especially in the last years, the achievements made by scientists have been exceptional, leading to major advancements in the ...
- Review shows benefits of regenerative medicine for joint issues in horseson November 23, 2023 at 12:51 pm
Regenerative therapies involve the use of living cells and non-cell therapies to treat various diseases, injuries, and medical conditions to restore affected tissue to its native state.
- Pamela and Paul Austin Chair in Precision and Regenerative Medicine will accelerate breakthroughson November 17, 2023 at 8:03 am
New research chair at U of T Engineering made possible by a $2.5-million donation from The P. Austin Family Foundation ...
- Regenerative medicine takes leap forward with nasal cartilage-derived cartilage graftson November 16, 2023 at 8:17 am
The Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel, today announced that it delivered the first surgical procedure to treat Osteoarthritis (OA) in humans.
- World Diabetes Day 2023: Know how regenerative medicine is helpful for bone and joint healthon November 10, 2023 at 1:24 pm
World Diabetes Day 2023 will observed on November 14 to raise awareness about the chronic disease. Apart from its impact on blood sugar levels, diabetes can also have detrimental effects on bone ...
- Regenerative medicine: postnatal approacheson November 4, 2023 at 12:04 am
Paper 2 of the paediatric regenerative medicine Series focuses on recent advances in postnatal approaches. New gene, cell, and niche-based technologies and their combinations allow structural and ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
[google_news title=”” keyword=”regenerative medicine” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]