The rise of three-dimensional human brain cultures

Nature. 2018 Jan 24;553(7689):437-445. doi: 10.1038/nature25032.


Pluripotent stem cells show a remarkable ability to self-organize and differentiate in vitro in three-dimensional aggregates, known as organoids or organ spheroids, and to recapitulate aspects of human brain development and function. Region-specific 3D brain cultures can be derived from any individual and assembled to model complex cell-cell interactions and to generate circuits in human brain assembloids. Here I discuss how this approach can be used to understand unique features of the human brain and to gain insights into neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, I consider the challenges faced by researchers in further improving and developing methods to probe and manipulate patient-derived 3D brain cultures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Organ Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Organ Culture Techniques / standards
  • Organogenesis
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Quality Control