Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lab grown ‘brains’ successfully model disease

13.03.2019

Scientists were able to model a developmental disorder called neuronal heterotopia which can lead to intellectual disability and epilepsy. They used a model of brain development called brain organoids where human cells organize themselves in the petri dish into brain-like structures. Brain organoids enabled the researchers to accurately recapitulate the disease in the lab. They discovered that the cells derived from individuals affected by the disease, had a different morphology and navigation system.

Much insight into the brain’s function has been gained from scientists working with animal models. However, animal models have their limitations since animal brains undergo a very different development process to humans brains.


Brain organoids look like pinheads in the petri dish

Axel Griesch for Max Planck Society


The petri dish holding brain organoids used to observe the migration of neurons

Axel Griesch for Max Planck Society

Some research has been carried out on the human brain, but it has relied on post-mortem donations and cultured cells. Since human brain tissue is difficult to obtain and animal models can only model the human brain to a limited extent, there was a crucial gap in brain research and a novel method to model human disease was highly sought after.

The Cappello research group at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in a highly collaborative work, particularly with the laboratory of Barbara Treutlein from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, have employed brain organoids to model developmental brain malfunctions.

These brain organoids have revolutionized neuroscience as they can recapitulate the way neurons differentiate in development to a remarkably high degree. When the human brain develops, new cells grow and aggregate in a very specific order. - The results of the study were shortly published in the highly prestigious journal Nature Medicine.

In heterotopia, the outermost layer of the brain, the cortex, is malformed. Malformations of the human cortex represent a major cause of disability. Heterotopia is an inheritable disorder where the migration of neurons is disturbed during development. In particular the scientists were able to find a full new set of molecular signatures that are unique in the diseased cells, giving them now potential ideas of how they can identify possible targets and strategies to develop therapy for patients.

The brain organoids in this study were grown from skin cell biopsies donated by patients. Silvia Cappello, who leads the work, explains: “We reprogrammed the skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. These pluripotent stem cells were then used to generate brain cells, which could be differentiated into many different types of brain cells.”

The different types of brain cells and their interactions can then be studied behaving in a way they would in an actual human brain. Cappello adds: “Brain organoids give us a much clearer picture of how brain cells are functioning and can accurately model human neurological diseases.”

The ability to model human brain development in vitro holds tremendous translational value. Brain organoids have already helped scientists to better understand the Zika virus, Alzheimer’s disease and autism. As the brain organoid is grown from the cells of an individual, it allows scientists to study exactly what is happening in individual patients.

Cappello concludes: “Validating brain organoids represents a hugely important step in helping us to understand developmental and neurological disorders and they hold great promise for discovering new treatments.”

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Silvia Cappello
0049 89 30622-253
silvia_cappello@psych.mpg.de

Originalpublikation:

Altered neuronal migratory trajectories in human cerebral organoids
derived from individuals with neuronal heterotopia
Nature medicine, 2019
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0371-0

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.psych.mpg.de/2453853/news_publication_12824988?c=1496476

Anke Schlee | Max-Planck-Institut für Psychiatrie

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Targeting certain rogue T cells prevents and reverses multiple sclerosis in mice
07.10.2019 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht Immune cell identity crisis: What makes a liver macrophage a liver macrophage?
04.10.2019 | University of California - San Diego

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: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

Im Focus: How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

How do some neutron stars become the strongest magnets in the Universe? A German-British team of astrophysicists has found a possible answer to the question of how these so-called magnetars form. Researchers from Heidelberg, Garching, and Oxford used large computer simulations to demonstrate how the merger of two stars creates strong magnetic fields. If such stars explode in supernovae, magnetars could result.

How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

Im Focus: Liquifying a rocky exoplanet

A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. This is the result of a study led by researchers at the University of Bern. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.

Rocky exoplanets that are around Earth-size are comparatively small, which makes them incredibly difficult to detect and characterise using telescopes. What...

Im Focus: Axion particle spotted in solid-state crystal

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spotted a famously elusive particle: The axion – first predicted 42 years ago as an elementary particle in extensions of the standard model of particle physics.

The team found signatures of axion particles composed of Weyl-type electrons (Weyl fermions) in the correlated Weyl semimetal (TaSe₄)₂I. At room temperature,...

Im Focus: A cosmic pretzel

Twin baby stars grow amongst a twisting network of gas and dust

The two baby stars were found in the [BHB2007] 11 system - the youngest member of a small stellar cluster in the Barnard 59 dark nebula, which is part of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrochemistry to benefit photonics: Nanotubes can control laser pulses

11.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologically inspired skin improves robots' sensory abilities (Video)

11.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New electrolyte stops rapid performance decline of next-generation lithium battery

11.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>