Evaluation of Compound Activity in Primary Human Intestinal Organoids Using Gene Expression and Histology

Curr Protoc Pharmacol. 2019 Jun;85(1):e54. doi: 10.1002/cpph.54. Epub 2019 Mar 28.


Human intestinal organoids have enabled performance of functional epithelial studies and modeling of human diseases of the intestine. This unit describes 1) a method to isolate and culture crypts from human intestinal tissue, 2) use of combinatorial methods to expand stem cell-enriched spheroids and differentiate them into organoids composed of various intestinal epithelial cell types, and 3) methods to stimulate these organoids with and measure their responsiveness to external stimuli. To validate the differentiation, organoids can be stained to qualitatively evaluate the presence of colonic crypt morphology and specialized epithelial cell markers. These organoids are responsive to challenge with tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), resulting in cytokine-induced apoptosis. TNFα-driven apoptosis can be blocked by a small-molecule inhibitor of Ire1α (4μ8C), an endoplasmic-reticulum stress sensor. This is one example of how the human intestinal organoid model can be a powerful tool to elucidate important biological pathways involved in human disease in intestinal epithelial cells. © 2019 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: 3D cell culture; colonic crypt; enteroid; human intestinal organoid; intestine; organoid; primary intestinal stem cell; spheroid.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Colon* / anatomy & histology
  • Colon* / drug effects
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Hymecromone / analogs & derivatives
  • Hymecromone / pharmacology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Organoids* / anatomy & histology
  • Organoids* / drug effects
  • RNA / analysis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology


  • 4-methylumbelliferone 8-carbaldehyde
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Hymecromone
  • RNA