Transplantation of human intestinal organoids into the mouse mesentery: A more physiologic and anatomic engraftment site

Surgery. 2018 Oct;164(4):643-650. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2018.04.048. Epub 2018 Jul 30.


Background: We previously described the development of human intestinal organoids from pluripotent stem cells, as well as their in vivo maturation when transplanted into the mouse kidney capsule. While sufficient for certain aspects of study, this model has limitations. Herein, we describe an alternative model of human intestinal organoids transplantation into the mouse mesentery. We hypothesize that efficient engraftment and marked differentiation of human intestinal organoids will be similar to our kidney model yet in a more anatomically appropriate location allowing for improved in vivo modeling.

Methods: Human intestinal organoids were generated by directed differentiation of H1 embryonic stem cells. Human intestinal organoids were then transplanted into the mesentery of immunosuppressed mice. Gross and histologic analysis of tissue was performed.

Results: Human intestinal organoids were transplanted into the mouse mesentery and allowed to grow for 10 weeks. Mouse survival was 85%, and among the surviving mice, 82% of transplanted human intestinal organoids successfully engrafted. Upon graft harvest, transplanted HIOs were larger than in vitro human intestinal organoids (1.75 mm vs 6.27 mm, P < .0001) and grew along a vascular pedicle, allowing for interventions and reconstructive surgeries to access the human intestinal organoid lumen. Histologic analyses of transplanted human intestinal organoids confirmed the presence of major cell types, as well as stem cell activity.

Conclusions: The mouse mesentery is a viable location for the transplantation of human intestinal organoids, yielding grafts of reproducible size and quality. This improved model serves to advance functional and translational studies of human intestinal organoids.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / transplantation*
  • Male
  • Mesentery / surgery*
  • Mice
  • Organoids / physiology
  • Organoids / transplantation*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous