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Organoid Models Group

Our research team is interested in the analysis of 3-dimensional human tissues, differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells, which are also called cerebral organoids or „mini brains“. These in cell culture differentiated organoids contain structures that mimic the real human brain like the layering of the human cortex. Thus, cerebral organoids are thought to be a highly promising technology to investigate physiological and pathophysiological conditions of the human brain. We currently set up organoid models for a variety of psychiatric disorders. Within a “FöFoLe” funded project we are studying cerebral organoids that are derived from patients with bipolar disorder (BD). Blood samples from BD patients were used to derive induced pluripotent stem cells, which are subsequently used to differentiate embryonal bodies corresponding to a precursor stage of cerebral organoids (Figure 1). Using a variety of analytical methods including confocal fluorescence microscopy, biochemical and molecular-biology assays, we are studying BD organoids in comparison to controls in order to identify pathway aberrations that are causative associate to the disorder.

Organoids

Figure 1 – Cerebral organoid differentiation. (A) Cerebral organoids reveal roundish/oval structures at early time points of differentiation. These structures contain neuronal precursor cells (PAX6 positive, green) and mature neurons (MAP2 positive, red). (B) High-resolution confocal imaging demonstrated organoid organisation including precursor cells (PAX6, green) and immature neurons (bTubulin, red).