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Self-Organized Cerebral Organoids with Human-Specific Features Predict Effective Drugs to Combat Zika Virus Infection

: Watanabe, M.; Buth, J.E.; Vishlaghi, N.; Torre-Ubieta, L. de la; Taxidis, J.; Khakh, B.S.; Coppola, G.; Pearson, C.A.; Yamauchi, K.; Gong, D.; Dai, X.; Damoiseaux, R.; Aliyari, R.; Liebscher, S.; Schenke-Layland, K.; Caneda, C.; Huang, E.J.; Zhang, Y.; Cheng, G.; Geschwind, D.H.; Golshani, P.; Sun, R.; Novitch, B.G.

Fulltext ()

Cell reports 21 (2017), No.2, pp.517-532
ISSN: 2211-1247
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IGB ()

The human cerebral cortex possesses distinct structural and functional features that are not found in the lower species traditionally used to model brain development and disease. Accordingly, considerable attention has been placed on the development of methods to direct pluripotent stem cells to form human brain-like structures termed organoids. However, many organoid differentiation protocols are inefficient and display marked variability in their ability to recapitulate the three-dimensional architecture and course of neurogenesis in the developing human brain. Here, we describe optimized organoid culture methods that efficiently and reliably produce cortical and basal ganglia structures similar to those in the human fetal brain in vivo. Neurons within the organoids are functional and exhibit network-like activities. We further demonstrate the utility of this organoid system for modeling the teratogenic effects of Zika virus on the developing brain and identifying mor e susceptibility receptors and therapeutic compounds that can mitigate its destructive actions. Cerebral organoids recapitulate many aspects of human corticogenesis and are a useful platform for modeling neurodevelopmental mechanisms and diseases. Watanabe et al. describe enhanced organoid methods and model ZIKV pathology. More susceptibility receptors for ZIKV are identified, and differential effects of various compounds to mitigate ZIKV-induced cytopathy are demonstrated.