Pluripotent stem cell derived intestinal organoids with an enteric nervous system

Methods Cell Biol. 2020:159:175-199. doi: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2020.04.012. Epub 2020 May 27.


The use of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and differentiation techniques offer new ways to generate specific tissue. It is now possible to differentiate hPSC into human intestinal organoids that include an enteric nervous system. Using step-wise differentiation processes, we generate innervated intestinal organoids that form three-dimensional structures bearing an epithelium, neurons and glial cells embedded in a supporting mesenchyme. Innervated organoids further develop to a complex structure with similar organization and cellular differentiation as the developing intestine. These tools open up new fields of application in the study of the development and pathophysiology of enteric neuropathies. Herein, we describe the generation of both human intestinal organoids and vagal neural crest cells from hPSC and their combination into an innervated organoid. We also discuss technical considerations for these experiments, and highlight advantages and limitations of the system.

Keywords: Enteric nervous system; Human pluripotent stem cell; Intestine; Organoid; Vagal neural crest cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Enteric Nervous System / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / cytology*
  • Neural Crest / cytology
  • Organoids / cytology*
  • Organoids / innervation*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*