A Long-Living Bioengineered Neural Tissue Platform to Study Neurodegeneration

Macromol Biosci. 2020 Mar;20(3):e2000004. doi: 10.1002/mabi.202000004. Epub 2020 Feb 17.


The prevalence of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases continues to rise as age demographics in the population shift, inspiring the development of long-term tissue culture systems with which to study chronic brain disease. Here, it is investigated whether a 3D bioengineered neural tissue model derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) can remain stable and functional for multiple years in culture. Silk-based scaffolds are seeded with neurons and glial cells derived from hiPSCs supplied by human donors who are either healthy or have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Cell retention and markers of stress remain stable for over 2 years. Diseased samples display decreased spontaneous electrical activity and a subset displays sporadic-like indicators of increased pathological β-amyloid and tau markers characteristic of Alzheimer's disease with concomitant increases in oxidative stress. It can be concluded that the long-term stability of the platform is suited to study chronic brain disease including neurodegeneration.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; bioengineering; biomaterials; induced pluripotent stem cells; neurodegeneration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / pathology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Silk / chemistry*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • MAPT protein, human
  • Silk
  • tau Proteins