Biologically inspired approaches to enhance human organoid complexity

Development. 2019 Apr 16;146(8):dev166173. doi: 10.1242/dev.166173.


Organoids are complex three-dimensional in vitro organ-like model systems. Human organoids, which are derived from human pluripotent stem cells or primary human donor tissue, have been used to address fundamental questions about human development, stem cell biology and organ regeneration. Focus has now shifted towards implementation of organoids for biological discovery and advancing existing systems to more faithfully recapitulate the native organ. This work has highlighted significant unknowns in human biology and has invigorated new exploration into the cellular makeup of human organs during development and in the adult - work that is crucial for providing appropriate benchmarks for organoid systems. In this Review, we discuss efforts to characterize human organ cellular complexity and attempts to make organoid models more realistic through co-culture, transplantation and bioengineering approaches.

Keywords: Human development; Organoids; Stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioengineering / methods
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Organogenesis / genetics
  • Organogenesis / physiology
  • Organoids / cytology*
  • Organoids / metabolism