Intestinal organoids in infants and children

Pediatr Surg Int. 2020 Jan;36(1):1-10. doi: 10.1007/s00383-019-04581-3. Epub 2019 Sep 25.


Recent advances in culturing of intestinal stem cells and pluripotent stem cells have led to the development of intestinal organoids. These are self-organizing 3D structures, which recapitulate the characteristics and physiological features of in vivo intestinal epithelium. Intestinal organoids have allowed the development of novel in vitro models to study various gastrointestinal diseases expanding our understanding of the pathophysiology of diseases and leading to the development of innovative therapies. This article aims to summarize the current usage of intestinal organoids as a model of gastrointestinal diseases and the potential applications of intestinal organoids in infants and children. Intestinal organoids allow the study of intestinal epithelium responses to stress factors. Mimicking intestinal injury such as necrotizing enterocolitis, intestinal organoids increases the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine genes and shows disruption of tight junctions after they are injured by lipopolysaccharide and hypoxia. In cystic fibrosis, intestinal organoids derived from rectal biopsies have provided benefits in genetic studies and development of novel therapeutic gene modulation. Transplantation of intestinal organoids via enema has been shown to rescue damaged colonic epithelium in mice. In addition, tissue-engineered small intestine derived from intestinal organoids have been successfully established providing a potential novel treatment and a new hope for children with short bowel syndrome.

Keywords: In vitro disease model; Intestinal organoid; Regenerative medicine; Stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biliary Atresia / pathology
  • Biliary Atresia / therapy
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy
  • Drug Development
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / pathology
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Hirschsprung Disease / pathology
  • Hirschsprung Disease / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestines / cytology*
  • Liver / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Models, Biological
  • Organoids / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / therapy
  • Tissue Engineering