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Nat Biotechnol. 2017 Jul;35(7):659-666. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3906. Epub 2017 May 31.

Guided self-organization and cortical plate formation in human brain organoids.

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IMBA-Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Science, Vienna, Austria.
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, UK.
IMP-Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria.
Gurdon Institute and Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge, UK.


Three-dimensional cell culture models have either relied on the self-organizing properties of mammalian cells or used bioengineered constructs to arrange cells in an organ-like configuration. While self-organizing organoids excel at recapitulating early developmental events, bioengineered constructs reproducibly generate desired tissue architectures. Here, we combine these two approaches to reproducibly generate human forebrain tissue while maintaining its self-organizing capacity. We use poly(lactide-co-glycolide) copolymer (PLGA) fiber microfilaments as a floating scaffold to generate elongated embryoid bodies. Microfilament-engineered cerebral organoids (enCORs) display enhanced neuroectoderm formation and improved cortical development. Furthermore, reconstitution of the basement membrane leads to characteristic cortical tissue architecture, including formation of a polarized cortical plate and radial units. Thus, enCORs model the distinctive radial organization of the cerebral cortex and allow for the study of neuronal migration. Our data demonstrate that combining 3D cell culture with bioengineering can increase reproducibility and improve tissue architecture.

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