Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Building a better brain-in-a-dish, faster and cheaper

07.09.2018

 

UC San Diego researchers develop new protocol for creating human cortical organoids, mini-brains derived directly from primary cells that can be used to better explore and understand the real thing

Writing in the current online issue of the journal Stem Cells and Development, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine describe development of a rapid, cost-effective method to create human cortical organoids directly from primary cells.


This is a false color image of a slice of human brain organoid from a patient with autism spectrum disorder.

Photo credit: Alysson Muotri, UC San Diego Health

Experimental studies of developing human brain function are limited. Research involving live embryonic subjects is constrained by ethical concerns and the fragile nature of the brain itself. Animal models only partially mimic or recapitulate human biology and cognitive function. Single cell studies do not capture the complexity of neural networks.

In recent years, the development of in vitro human organoids -- three-dimensional, miniaturized, simplified versions of an organ produced from reprogrammed stem cells -- have allowed scientists to study biological functions, diseases and treatments more realistically and in greater detail.

... more about:
»autism spectrum »human brain »stem cells

"And that includes the brain," said Alysson R. Muotri, PhD, professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program and a member of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. "Cerebral organoids can form a variety of brain regions. They exhibit neurons that are functional and capable of electrical excitation. They resemble human cortical development at the gene expression levels."

Muotri is among the leaders in the field, having used the "brain-in-a-dish" approach to provide the first direct experimental proof that the Zika virus can cause severe birth defects, to repurpose existing HIV drugs on a rare, inherited neurological disorder and to create Neanderthalized "mini-brains."

But human brain organoids are difficult, time-consuming and expensive to produce, requiring sophisticated tools and know-how to first generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) capable of becoming almost any kind of cell from skin cells, called fibroblasts, then directing those iPSCs to differentiate into the variety of interconnected cell types that comprise an organ like the brain.

In the new paper, senior author Muotri and colleagues describe a new, rapid and cost-effective method to reprogram individual somatic cells directly into cortical organoids from hundreds of individuals simultaneously. To do so, they compressed and optimized several steps of the process so that somatic cells are reprogrammed, expanded and stimulated to form cortical cells almost simultaneously. The result is a cortical organoid that fully develops from somatic cells with only minor manipulation, Muotri said.

"What we've done is establish a proof-of-principle protocol for a systematic, automated process to generate large numbers of brain organoids," said Muotri. "The potential uses are vast, including creating large brain organoid repositories and the discovery of causal genetic variants to human neurological conditions associated with several mutations of unknown significance, such as autism spectrum disorder. If we want to understand the variability in human cognition, this is the first step."

###

Co-authors of the study include: Monique Schukking, Helen Miranda, Cleber A. Trujillo, and Priscilla D. Negraes, all at UC San Diego.

Disclosure: Muotri is a co-founder and has an equity interest in TISMOO, a company dedicated to genetic analysis focusing on therapeutic applications customized for autism spectrum disorder and other neurological disorders with genetic origins. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by the University of California San Diego according to its conflict of interest policies.

Media Contact

Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
858-249-0456

 @UCSanDiego

http://www.ucsd.edu 

Scott LaFee | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/scd.2018.0112

Further reports about: autism spectrum human brain stem cells

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Novel anti-cancer nanomedicine for efficient chemotherapy
17.09.2019 | University of Helsinki

nachricht Researchers have identified areas of the retina that change in mild Alzheimer's disease
16.09.2019 | Universidad Complutense de Madrid

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Happy hour for time-resolved crystallography

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.

The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.

Im Focus: Modular OLED light strips

At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.

Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...

Im Focus: Tomorrow´s coolants of choice

Scientists assess the potential of magnetic-cooling materials

Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....

Im Focus: The working of a molecular string phone

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.

This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.

Im Focus: Milestones on the Way to the Nuclear Clock

Two research teams have succeeded simultaneously in measuring the long-sought Thorium nuclear transition, which enables extremely precise nuclear clocks. TU Wien (Vienna) is part of both teams.

If you want to build the most accurate clock in the world, you need something that "ticks" very fast and extremely precise. In an atomic clock, electrons are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Society 5.0: putting humans at the heart of digitalisation

10.09.2019 | Event News

Interspeech 2019 conference: Alexa and Siri in Graz

04.09.2019 | Event News

AI for Laser Technology Conference: optimizing the use of lasers with artificial intelligence

29.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stroke patients relearning how to walk with peculiar shoe

18.09.2019 | Innovative Products

Statistical inference to mimic the operating manner of highly-experienced crystallographer

18.09.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists' design discovery doubles conductivity of indium oxide transparent coatings

18.09.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>