Scientists Produce Human Intestinal Lining That Re-creates Living Tissue Inside Organ-Chip


Source: The Yates Network

Summary: Researchers have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual’s body mirror living tissue when placed inside micro-engineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing of drug treatments.


Instead of exposing a patient to drug treatments that may be costly, ineffective or carry harmful side effects, scientists could use the individual’s own stem cells to produce a duplicate of the intestinal lining on an Intestine-Chip and test multiple drugs on it. Scientists then could determine which drug worked best on that patient’s intestine. Researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute and Emulate, Inc. have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual’s body mirror living tissue when placed inside micro-engineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing of drug treatments. The findings have the potential to change how patients are treated for debilitating, inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases with a genetic component, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The study findings were published in the journal Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Human Intestinal Lining on Organ-Chip

Microengineered Organ-Chip is made out of a flexible polymer that features tiny channels that can be lined with thousands of living human cells. Credit: Emulate, Inc.

To make the iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells), the research team first took small samples of blood and skin cells from an adult. They reprogrammed these cells into iPSCs, which are similar to embryonic stem cells and can produce any type of body cell. Using special proteins and other substances, the scientists prodded the iPSCs to produce cells of the intestinal lining. Each cell bore the unique genetic fingerprint and characteristics of the adult who donated the original cells. The new cells were used to grow miniature versions of the person’s intestine lining, known as organoids. The team then selected cells from these organoids and placed them inside the Intestine-Chips, which are about the size of AA batteries and re-create the natural microenvironment of the human intestine, including the intestinal epithelium-the layer of cells that forms the lining of both the small and large intestines.

President and chief scientific officer of Emulate and a co-author of the study, Geraldine A. Hamilton, Ph.D. said, “Organ-Chips address major challenges in studying the human intestine and intestinal diseases in the lab”, “The Intestine-Chip is a ‘home-away-from-home’ for human cells, and provides them with the right microenvironment and biological cues they need to behave just like they do in the body.”


More Information: Michael J. Workman et al, “Enhanced Utilization of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Human Intestinal Organoids Using Microengineered Chips”, Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2017.12.008


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