Stem Cell Models of Human Brain Development

Cell Stem Cell. 2016 Jun 2;18(6):736-48. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.05.022.


Recent breakthroughs in pluripotent stem cell technologies have enabled a new class of in vitro systems for functional modeling of human brain development. These advances, in combination with improvements in neural differentiation methods, allow the generation of in vitro systems that reproduce many in vivo features of the brain with remarkable similarity. Here, we describe advances in the development of these methods, focusing on neural rosette and organoid approaches, and compare their relative capabilities and limitations. We also discuss current technical hurdles for recreating the cell-type complexity and spatial architecture of the brain in culture and offer potential solutions.

Keywords: brain organoids; cerebral organoids; human stem cells; in vitro; neural development; neural differentiation; neural rosettes; organoids; stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / embryology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Tissue Engineering