Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
GLOBETECH MEDIA

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: Star-like glial cells in red surround alpha-beta plaques in the cortex of a mouse with a model of Alzheimer\'s disease (Photo courtesy of Strittmatter laboratory/Yale University).

Experimental Cancer Drug Reverses Symptoms in Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease

An experimental, but clinically disappointing drug for treatment of cancer has been found to be extremely effective in reversing the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a mouse model.... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel
Image: BLAST drives nanoparticles, enzymes, antibodies, and bacteria into cells at the rate of 100,000 cells per minute—significantly faster than current technology (Photo courtesy of UCLA - University of California, Los Angeles).

Laser-Based Tool Injects Nanoparticles and Macromolecules into Cells with Minimal Damage

Cell biologists have developed a laser-based tool that is capable of injecting large objects such as nanoparticles, bacteria, or macromolecules into cells at a speed much greater than allowed by current... Read more

Business

view channel

NanoString and MD Anderson Collaborate on Development of Novel Multi-Omic Expression Profiling Assays for Cancer

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX, USA) and NanoString Technologies, Inc. (Seattle, WA, USA) will partner on development of a revolutionary new type of assay—simultaneously profiling gene and protein expression, initially aiming to discover and validate biomarker signatures for immuno-oncology... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2015 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.