Protein-engineered scaffolds for in vitro 3D culture of primary adult intestinal organoids

Biomater Sci. 2015 Oct 15;3(10):1376-85. doi: 10.1039/c5bm00108k. Epub 2015 Jul 16.


Though in vitro culture of primary intestinal organoids has gained significant momentum in recent years, little has been done to investigate the impact of microenvironmental cues provided by the encapsulating matrix on the growth and development of these fragile cultures. In this work, the impact of various in vitro culture parameters on primary adult murine organoid formation and growth are analyzed with a focus on matrix properties and geometric culture configuration. The air-liquid interface culture configuration was found to result in enhanced organoid formation relative to a traditional submerged configuration. Additionally, through use of a recombinantly engineered extracellular matrix (eECM), the effects of biochemical and biomechanical cues were independently studied. Decreasing mechanical stiffness and increasing cell adhesivity were found to increase organoid yield. Tuning of eECM properties was used to obtain organoid formation efficiency values identical to those observed in naturally harvested collagen I matrices but within a stiffer construct with improved ease of physical manipulation. Increased ability to remodel the surrounding matrix through mechanical or enzymatic means was also shown to enhance organoid formation. As the engineering and tunability of recombinant matrices is essentially limitless, continued property optimization may result in further improved matrix performance and may help to identify additional microenvironmental cues that directly impact organoid formation, development, differentiation, and functional behavior. Continued culture of primary organoids in recombinant matrices could therefore prove to be largely advantageous in the field of intestinal tissue engineering for applications in regenerative medicine and in vitro tissue mimics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Collagen Type I / chemistry
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • Collagen Type I / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry*
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Intestines / chemistry
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Organ Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Organoids / chemistry
  • Organoids / cytology*
  • Organoids / physiology
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Collagen Type I