Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
Demo Company
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
PURITAN MEDICAL

Stem Cell-Based Cerebral Organoids Enable in Vitro Study of Human Brain Development and Microcephaly

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 09 Sep 2013
Image: Comparison of the organoid (right) to the developing brain (left, section of a mouse brain) (Photo courtesy of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences).
Image: Comparison of the organoid (right) to the developing brain (left, section of a mouse brain) (Photo courtesy of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences).
Austrian researchers have used advanced stem cell technology to grow cultures of cerebral organoids, or "mini-brains," which enable the in vitro study of human neuronal disorders.

The complexity of the human brain has made it difficult to study many brain disorders in model organisms, highlighting the need for an in vitro model of human brain development. Investigators at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Vienna) have developed a human pluripotent stem cell-derived three-dimensional organoid culture system, termed cerebral organoids, which develop various discrete, although interdependent, brain regions. These include a cerebral cortex containing progenitor populations that organize and produce mature cortical neuron subtypes.

The investigators reported in the August 28, 2013, online edition of the journal Nature that after 15–20 days of culture growth cerebral organoids formed that consisted of continuous tissue (neuroepithelia) surrounding a fluid-filled cavity that was reminiscent of a cerebral ventricle. After 20–30 days, defined brain regions, including a cerebral cortex, retina, meninges, as well as choroid plexus, developed. After two months, the mini-brains reached a maximum size, but they could survive indefinitely (currently up to 10 months) in a spinning bioreactor. Further growth, however, was not achieved, most likely due to the lack of a circulation system and hence a lack of nutrients and oxygen at the core of the mini-brains

Cerebral organoids were shown to recapitulate features of human cortical development, namely characteristic progenitor zone organization with abundant outer radial glial stem cells. The investigators used RNA interference and patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells to model microcephaly, a disorder that has been difficult to recapitulate in mice. They demonstrated premature neuronal differentiation in patient organoids, a defect that could help to explain the disease phenotype.

Senior author Dr. Jürgen Knoblich, deputy scientific director of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, said, "We modified an established approach to generate so-called neuroectoderm, a cell layer from which the nervous system derives. Fragments of this tissue were then maintained in a 3D-culture and embedded in droplets of a specific gel that provided a scaffold for complex tissue growth. In order to enhance nutrient absorption, we later transferred the gel droplets to a spinning bioreactor. Within three to four weeks defined brain regions were formed."

Related Links:
Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences



Channels

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: Cancer cells were treated with a control (left) and the overstimulating compound MCB-613 (right) (Photo courtesy of Dr. Lei Wang, Baylor University College of Medicine).

Drug Candidate Propels Cancer Cells into Fatal Overdrive

A candidate drug that destroys cancer cells by stimulating them to produce more proteins than the cells can actually process was shown to kill a wide variety of cancer cells in culture and to inhibit tumor... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel
Image: The Synergy Neo2 Multi-Mode Reader recently received Cisbio HTRF certification (Photo courtesy of BioTek Instruments Inc.).

High-Speed Multimode Microplate Reader Receives Homogenous Time-Resolved Fluorescence Certification

A new high-performance, high-speed microplate reader has received HTRF (homogenous time-resolved fluorescence) accreditation that certifies that it complies with standards for detection set by a major... Read more

Business

view channel

Innovative Microbial Diagnostics Developer Acquired by Biomedical Giant

A biotech company noted for its development of innovative products in the field of molecular microbiology diagnostics has been acquired by one of the world's largest biomedical corporations. GeneWEAVE BioSciences, Inc.(Los Gatos, CA, USA) and Roche (Basel, Switzerland) have announced that Roche will be purchasing the... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2015 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.