A team of scientists from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital have announced that they have successfully developed human intestinal tissue using both human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). While researchers have had success recreating other types of tissue from stem cells, this is the first successful attempt to create functioning intestinal tissue in vitro. The scientists used iPSCs generated from skin cells to compare their therapeutic potential with that of embryonic stem cells, and now plan to test the tissue’s efficacy in treating intestinal diseases.
From the press release:
The first step turned pluripotent stem cells into an embryonic cell type called definitive endoderm, which gives rise to the lining of the esophagus, stomach and intestines as well as the lungs, pancreas and liver. Next, endoderm cells were instructed to become one those organ cell types, specifically embryonic intestinal cells called “hindgut progenitors.” The researchers then subjected the cells to what they describe as a “pro-intestinal” cell culture system that promoted intestinal growth.
Within 28 days, these steps resulted in the formation of three-dimensional tissue resembling fetal intestine that contained all the major intestinal cell types – including enterocytes, goblet, Paneth and enteroendocrine cells. The tissue continued to mature and acquire both the absorptive and secretory functionality of normal human intestinal tissues and also formed intestine-specific stem cells.
Press release: Stem Cells Turned Into Complex, Functioning Intestinal Tissue in Lab…
Study abstract at Nature: Directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into intestinal tissue in vitro