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Brain Organoids

Brain organoids are miniature versions of the brain cultivated in vitro. They resemble the cell complexity, architecture and physiology of the human brain with greater fidelity than animal models and 2D brain cell cultures. Brain organoids enable the study of neurological diseases and responses to therapy, which would be otherwise impossible to explore in vivo.

We offer brain (also named cerebral) and brain region-specific organoid models generated from induced-pluripotent stem cells, including forebrain cortical, midbrain, hippocampus, and hypothalamus organoids. These models allow the study of disease inflicted dysfunctions in specific regions of the brain. They also allow the assessment of drug toxicity and efficacy, advancing drug discovery.

Midbrain (Day20)
hippocampus (Day20)
hypothalamus (Day4)
forebrain cortical (Day20)

Functional aspects of brain organoids:

Forebrain (cortical): Forebrain organoids encompass several key regions and structures of the human forebrain, although they represent these areas in a simplified and miniature form. The forebrain is the largest part of the brain and includes the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia, thalamus, hypothalamus, and olfactory bulbs. These structures integrate sensory information, coordinate voluntary actions, and enable higher-order functions that are central to human cognition and behavior.

Midbrain: The midbrain is a small structure located between the forebrain and the hindbrain. It plays a vital role in various essential functions: it regulates motor functions, as well as visual and auditory processing, pain modulation, consciousness and arousal, and coordination of reflexes.

Hippocampus: Hippocampus organoids serve as valuable tools for understanding key functions and mechanisms related to memory formation, spatial navigation, synaptic plasticity, neurogenesis, excitatory and inhibitory balance of synaptic networks.

Hypothalamus: The hypothalamus is a small, but central region of the human brain exerting vital functions to maintain body homeostasis, such as regulation of emotions, sleep, growth, apetite and temperature.

Key features of brain organoids:

  • Enable long term assessments for modelling disease progression and drug treatment responses.
  • Available at customized ages, according to your needs
  • The organoid technology can be combined with several of our advanced services, such as viability assays, single cell transcriptomics, proteomics and imaging.
Midbrain organoids (Day50)
Midbrain organoids (Day75)
Midbrain organoids (Day75)
Midbrain progenitor cells
dopaminergic neurons
cell nuclei
Hippocampus organoids at Day 75
Dentagyrus (DG) neurons
DG progenitor cells
cell nuclei

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Disease models

Brain organoid technology is a powerful tool to model neurological disorders. Our disease models include:

  • Rare neurological diseases caused by gene mutations: we have organoid models derived from patients carrying mutations on genes causing CLN3 Batten disease (children dementia, CLN3 gene), Aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase deficiency (AADC gene), cerebellar atrophy (OXR1 gene) and infantile parkinsonism-dystonia (DAT gene).

Delayed development of CLN3-deficient brain region specific organoids compared to healthy control organoids.

Bright-field images of hippocampus (Day20), forebrain cortical (Day20), midbrain (Day20) and hypothalamus (Day4) organoids.
Regions particularly affected in forebrain and hippocampus are marked by arrows:

White arrow: subgranular zone (SGZ).
Black arrows: ventricular-subventricular zone (VZ/SVZ).
  •  Common neurological disorders: We use available cell lines to generate brain organoids from common neurodegenerative disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s (AD), Parkinsons’s and Huntington’s diseases.
  • If you are interested in studying a disease not described above, we can reprogram fibroblasts (from skin biopsies) into iPSC for further differentiation into organoids.
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