US scientists from the Salk Institute have grown small human brains, also known as human brain organoids, in mice skulls. This is a breakthrough in medicine, as it can help with stem cell research and get more insight on different neurological disorders. It could be a step closer to cure autism, dementia or schizophrenia.
Scientists have used a rich area in blood vessels in the mouse brain and grafted in it stem-cell-based organoids from the human brain. The human organoids have successfully integrated into that area and started forming neurons and astrocytes, which are neuronal support cells. There were also native blood vessels which flowed through the organoids.
A Big Accomplishment
Lead author of the research study and a research associate at Salk, Abed AlFattah Mansour stated:
“That was a big accomplishment. We saw infiltration of blood vessels into the organoid and supplying it with blood, which was exciting because it’s perhaps the ticket for organoids’ long-term survival”.
During the experiments, scientists accomplished three important things: they installed an organoid into an environment that had a complex tissue, the organoid was connected to the species and it was also integrated to the cardiovascular system of that organism.
In order to compare their research, before transplanting the organoid, they cut it in half. One of the halves remained in culture, and one was transplanted. Afterward, they compared the results from the two environments.
The organoids from the culture had dying cells after a few months, and the ones in the mice were still alive and healthy.
Although human transplantation of tissue or brain has been used in animals for decades, this new approach can help develop more complex organoid models, as they receive oxygen and nutrients through their host.
According to researchers, these experiments are a step forward in developing cures for brain disorders through transplanting healthy human cells into people’s brains and replacing the tissue that no longer functions.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere