In Vivo Intestinal Research Using Organoid Transplantation

Keio J Med. 2022 Dec 25;71(4):73-81. doi: 10.2302/kjm.2022-0019-IR. Epub 2022 Dec 1.


Our understanding of the biology of the intestinal epithelium has advanced since the establishment of an organoid culture system. Although organoids have enabled investigation of the mechanism of self-renewal of human intestinal stem cells in vitro, it remains difficult to clarify the behavior of human normal and diseased intestinal epithelium in vivo. Recently, we developed a xenotransplantation system in which human intestinal organoids are engrafted onto epithelium-depleted mouse colons. This xenograft recapitulated the original tissue structures. Upon xenotransplantation, normal colon organoids developed normal colon crypt structures without tumorigenesis, whereas tumor-derived organoids formed colonic tumors resembling the original tumors. The non-tumorigenicity of human intestinal organoids highlights the safety of organoid-based regenerative medicine. As an example of regenerative medicine for short bowel syndrome, we devised a unique organ-repurposing approach to convert colons into small intestines by organoid transplantation. In this approach, the transplanted rat small intestinal organoids not only engrafted onto the rat colons but also remodeled the colon subepithelial structures into a small intestine-like conformation. Luminal flow accelerated the maturation of villi in the small intestine, which promoted the formation of a lymphovascular network mimicking lacteals. In this review, we provide an overview of recent advances in gastrointestinal organoid transplantation and share our understanding of human disease biology and regenerative medicine derived from these studies.

Keywords: epithelium replacement; intestinal organoid; organoid transplantation; regenerative medicine; xenograft.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colon
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa* / pathology
  • Intestine, Small
  • Intestines*
  • Mice
  • Organoids