Derivation of Human Midbrain-Specific Organoids from Neuroepithelial Stem Cells

Stem Cell Reports. 2017 May 9;8(5):1144-1154. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.03.010. Epub 2017 Apr 13.


Research on human brain development and neurological diseases is limited by the lack of advanced experimental in vitro models that truly recapitulate the complexity of the human brain. Here, we describe a robust human brain organoid system that is highly specific to the midbrain derived from regionally patterned neuroepithelial stem cells. These human midbrain organoids contain spatially organized groups of dopaminergic neurons, which make them an attractive model for the study of Parkinson's disease. Midbrain organoids are characterized in detail for neuronal, astroglial, and oligodendrocyte differentiation. Furthermore, we show the presence of synaptic connections and electrophysiological activity. The complexity of this model is further highlighted by the myelination of neurites. The present midbrain organoid system has the potential to be used for advanced in vitro disease modeling and therapy development.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; midbrain; neural stem cells; organoid; stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / cytology
  • Humans
  • Mesencephalon / cytology*
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neuroepithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Organoids / cytology*
  • Organoids / metabolism