Scientists used pluripotent stem cells to generate functional, three-dimensional human stomach tissue in a laboratory – creating an unprecedented tool for researching the development and diseases of an organ central to several public health crises, ranging from cancer to diabetes.
Scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center report Oct. 29 in Nature they used human pluripotent stem cells – which can become any cell type in the body – to grow a miniature version of the stomach. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, they used laboratory generated mini-stomachs (called gastric organoids) to study infection by H. pylori bacteria, a major cause of peptic ulcer disease and stomach cancer.
This first-time molecular generation of 3D human gastric organoids (hGOs) presents new opportunities for drug discovery, modeling early stages of stomach cancer and studying some of the underpinnings of obesity related diabetes, according to Jim Wells, PhD, principal investigator and a scientist in the divisions of Developmental Biology and Endocrinology at Cincinnati Children’s.
It also is the first time researchers have produced 3D human embryonic foregut – a promising starting point for generating other foregut organ tissues like the lungs and pancreas, he said.
“Until this study, no one had generated gastric cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs),” Wells said. “In addition, we discovered how to promote formation of three-dimensional gastric tissue with complex architecture and cellular composition.”
This is important because differences between species in the embryonic development and architecture of the adult stomach make mouse models less than optimal for studying human stomach development and disease, Wells added.
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