Ileal Derived Organoids From Crohn's Disease Patients Show Unique Transcriptomic and Secretomic Signatures

Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021;12(4):1267-1280. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2021.06.018. Epub 2021 Jul 14.


Background & aims: We used patient-derived organoids (PDOs) to study the epithelial-specific transcriptional and secretome signatures of the ileum during Crohn's disease (CD) with varying phenotypes to screen for disease profiles and potential druggable targets.

Methods: RNA sequencing was performed on isolated intestinal crypts and 3-week-old PDOs derived from ileal biopsies of CD patients (n = 8 B1, inflammatory; n = 8 B2, stricturing disease) and non-inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) controls (n = 13). Differentially expressed (DE) genes were identified by comparing CD vs control, B1 vs B2, and inflamed vs non-inflamed. DE genes were used for computational screening to find candidate small molecules that could potentially reverse B1and B2 gene signatures. The secretome of a second cohort (n = 6 non-IBD controls, n = 7 CD, 5 non-inflamed, 2 inflamed) was tested by Luminex using cultured organoid conditioned medium.

Results: We found 90% similarity in both the identity and abundance of protein coding genes between PDOs and intestinal crypts (15,554 transcripts of 19,900 genes). DE analysis identified 814 genes among disease group (CD vs non-IBD control), 470 genes different between the CD phenotypes, and 5 false discovery rate correction significant genes between inflamed and non-inflamed CD. The PDOs showed both similarity and diversity in the levels and types of soluble cytokines and growth factors they released. Perturbagen analysis revealed potential candidate compounds to reverse B2 disease phenotype to B1 in PDOs.

Conclusions: PDOs are similar at the transcriptome level with the in vivo epithelium and retain disease-specific gene expression for which we have identified secretome products, druggable targets, and corresponding pharmacologic agents. Targeting the epithelium could reverse a stricturing phenotype and improve outcomes.

Keywords: Children; Epigenetics; Human Intestinal Organoids; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Intestinal Epithelium; Secretome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / etiology*
  • Crohn Disease / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Humans
  • Ileum / metabolism*
  • Ileum / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Organoids
  • Secretome*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Transcriptome*