Authors: Natalie Morton, Future Science Group
Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (OH, USA) have developed a method for creating brain organoids with oligodendrocytes included, building on previous research by the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute (NY, USA), allowing them to study diseases related to myelination in a more accurate cellular environment than ever before.
Organoids provide a useful cellular environment for studying disease progression, and for testing treatments. However, the lack of oligodendrocytes in brain organoids has, until now, prevented detailed research on conditions such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury.
In a collaborative study published in Nature Methods, teams from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the NYSCF and George Washington University (DC, USA), worked together to develop a method for creating myelin-producing oligodendrocytes in organoids.
Using a specific combination of growth factors and myelin-enhancing compounds, the researchers generated organoids from the stem cells of patients with a fatal disease, Pelizaeus-Merzbacher, which is caused by a genetic myelination disorder.
Paul Tesar, one of the study’s lead authors, commented: “Our new method gives us a clearer picture of how brain cells are functioning and interacting in diseases like multiple sclerosis or Pelizaeus-Merzbacher, and it holds great promise for the development of new therapies to restore myelination.”
Researchers at the NYSCF demonstrated the reproducibility of the experiment by independently replicating the method using a different strain of stem cells, showing that the method can be used to study a variety of diseases.
“By filling a crucial gap in brain organoid models,” explained Valentina Fossati, lead author from the NYSCF, “we believe this new protocol will elevate research into multiple sclerosis as well as a variety of complex neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.”
Read more on Neuro Central from Valentina Fossati:
Successfully modelling diseases linked to myelination disorders will allow researchers to study these diseases and their treatments in organoids which closely resemble the brain’s structure and function. The replication of myelin formation, and its consequent destruction, will provide a platform for more detailed study of these processes.
Tesar concluded: “I look forward to continuing our collaboration with the NYSCF Research Institute towards better understanding and treatment of myelination disorders.”
Also take a look at: