Engineering stem cell-derived 3D brain organoids in a perfusable organ-on-a-chip system†
Brain organoids derived from the self-organization of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) represent a new class of in vitro organ system for modeling brain development and diseases. However, engineering brain organoids in a biomimetic environment that is favorable for brain development remains challenging. In this work, we present a new strategy to generate hiPSCs-derived 3D brain organoids using an organ-on-a-chip system in a controlled manner. This system provides a biomimetic brain microenvironment by incorporating three-dimensional (3D) Matrigel, fluid flow and multicellular architectures of tissues that allows for extended 3D culture, in situ neural differentiation, and organization of brain organoids on a single device. The generated brain organoids display well-defined neural differentiation, regionalization and cortical organization under perfused culture conditions, which recapitulate the key features of early human brain development. Moreover, the brain organoids exhibit an enhanced expression of cortical layer markers (TBR1 and CTIP2) under perfused cultures as compared to that under static cultures on a Petri dish, indicating the role of mechanical fluid flow in promoting brain organogenesis. The simple and robust brain organoids-on-a-chip system may open new avenues for various stem cell-based organoids engineering and its application in developmental biology and human disease studies.