Fused cerebral organoids model interactions between brain regions

Nat Methods. 2017 Jul;14(7):743-751. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4304. Epub 2017 May 10.


Human brain development involves complex interactions between different regions, including long-distance neuronal migration or formation of major axonal tracts. Different brain regions can be cultured in vitro within 3D cerebral organoids, but the random arrangement of regional identities limits the reliable analysis of complex phenotypes. Here, we describe a coculture method combining brain regions of choice within one organoid tissue. By fusing organoids of dorsal and ventral forebrain identities, we generate a dorsal-ventral axis. Using fluorescent reporters, we demonstrate CXCR4-dependent GABAergic interneuron migration from ventral to dorsal forebrain and describe methodology for time-lapse imaging of human interneuron migration. Our results demonstrate that cerebral organoid fusion cultures can model complex interactions between different brain regions. Combined with reprogramming technology, fusions should offer researchers the possibility to analyze complex neurodevelopmental defects using cells from neurological disease patients and to test potential therapeutic compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Movement
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Organoids / physiology*