Using Liver Organoids as Models to Study the Pathobiology of Rare Liver Diseases

Biomedicines. 2024 Feb 17;12(2):446. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines12020446.


Liver organoids take advantage of several important features of pluripotent stem cells that self-assemble in a three-dimensional culture matrix and reproduce many aspects of the complex organization found within their native tissue or organ counterparts. Compared to other 2D or 3D in vitro models, organoids are widely believed to be genetically stable or docile structures that can be programmed to virtually recapitulate certain biological, physiological, or pathophysiological features of original tissues or organs in vitro. Therefore, organoids can be exploited as effective substitutes or miniaturized models for the study of the developmental mechanisms of rare liver diseases, drug discovery, the accurate evaluation of personalized drug responses, and regenerative medicine applications. However, the bioengineering of organoids currently faces many groundbreaking challenges, including a need for a reasonable tissue size, structured organization, vascularization, functional maturity, and reproducibility. In this review, we outlined basic methodologies and supplements to establish organoids and summarized recent technological advances for experimental liver biology. Finally, we discussed the therapeutic applications and current limitations.

Keywords: biomaterials; liver; organoids; rare disease modeling; regenerative medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This study was supported by the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Saudi Arabia (project number: RAC# 2220008).