Organ-on-Chip Model Provides New Insights into Brain Development
Layers of spinal motor neuron cells (top, in blue) and capillary cells (bottom, in red) converge inside an Organ-Chip. Neurons and capillary cells interact together along the length of the chip. The image was produced using a confocal microscope; colors were generated by staining with fluorescent antibodies.
Credit: Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute
Study in a Sentence: Researchers recently used an organ-on-a-chip model to study the interaction between human blood vessel tissue and brain tissue derived from human stem cells. They discovered that the blood vessel tissue can activate genes to direct the development and maturation of spinal cord tissue.
Healthy for Humans: The study not only offers insights into how spinal cord tissues develop, it also offers an experimental model to study diseases affected by defects in motion-controlling brain cells, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease.
Redefining Research: In contrast to similar experiments conducted with cell culture dishes, the use of organs-on-chips in this study produced results closer to that observed within internal biological microenvironments or in vivo (in a living organism).
Sances S, Ho R, Vatine G, West D, Laperle A, Meyer A, et al. Human iPSC-Derived Endothelial Cells and Microengineered Organ-Chip Enhance Neuronal Development. Stem Cell Reports. Published online March 22, 2018. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.02.012
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