OPEN Developmental biology | 12 Jun 2016
M Aurora and JR Spence
In vitro human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) derived tissues are excellent models to study certain aspects of normal human development. Current research in the field of hPSC derived tissues reveals these models to be inherently fetal-like on both a morphological and gene expression level. In this review we briefly discuss current methods for differentiating lung and intestinal tissue from hPSCs into individual 3-dimensional units called organoids. We discuss how these methods mirror what is known about in vivo signaling pathways of the developing embryo. Additionally, we will review how the inherent immaturity of these models lends them to be particularly valuable in the study of immature human tissues in the clinical setting of premature birth. Human lung organoids (HLOs) and human intestinal organoids (HIOs) not only model normal development, but can also be utilized to study several important diseases of prematurity such as respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
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