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  1. Ethical Science News

  2. Oct 19, 2021

A Human Brain Organoid Model for Alzheimer’s Disease

Study in a Sentence: Researchers successfully modeled key characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease using a human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived 3D brain organoid.

Healthy for Humans: Efforts to develop drugs for Alzheimer’s disease have failed nearly every time, in part because of species differences between humans and the animals used to model the disease. An important feature of Alzheimer’s disease is blood-brain barrier leakage, which is characterized by exposure of the brain to serum, and which researchers set out to replicate in this nonanimal, patient-derived hiPSC model.

Redefining Research: Serum-exposed brain organoids mimicked several characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease, such as plaques, tangles, and impaired neural networks. This model more closely mimics the structure and function of the human brain and key characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease than previous models, making it a powerful tool for understanding disease mechanisms and for developing drugs that target this devasting disease.


Chen X, Sun G, Tian E, et al. Modeling sporadic Alzheimer’s disease in human brain organoids under serum exposure. Advanced Science. 2021;e2101462.

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