This is a first step in the development of what could be a new type of organ, professor of biochemistry at ETH Zurich BZ , Peter Moeser, who completed the work, tells eLife.
Small, flexible structures are easily manipulated and tissue-engineered under various and sometimes unrealistic conditions. For example, some patients with neurological disorders or certain forms of cancer develop neural networks focused on tissue representation.
You can imagine a rubber band that becomes a claw, a hand that can open and close on command. A mouse can perform this all over the body and even on multiple legs.
The human brain is full of these so-called ‘neuroprosthetic structures’ – large, complex, glassy, brain-shaped organoids with a total of 20 billion nerve cells. Neuroprosthetic structures are offered a wide spectrum of functionalities: from lifesaving medical devices to tools in the development of the biosphere or to vehicle, energy or electronic engineering.
These ‘organoids’ can vary in complexity from simple miniaturized neural networks with rudimentary functionality to the fully formed organoids with a complete and functional nervous system. Neuroprosthetic systems are tools for advancing the field of regenerative medicine of tissues.
Normally, neuroprosthetic structures are confined to fixed areas, such as the brain or throat, but they can also expand, becoming organs. To do so, people tend to use organic and synthetic substances – such as bone, cartilage and fibrous substances – that contain large amounts of genetic material to replace or replace inflammation or tissue damage. However, organoids are not limited by genetics: they can also contain chromosomal growth factors, microsatellite genetic elements, long non-genetic human genes and microchips.
Disruption and restoration.
Chronic disease can affect the organoid sufficiently that it begins to lose its structure and the cells attached to it start to die. This is the first step in the beginnings of organoid rejection.
If an organoid is implanted before the blood is taken out, it will cause rejection, even if there are normal human organs inside. In the case of organoids implanted in a severely diseased person, organoid rejection may happen following rejection by half the body.
Professor Peter Moeser, who was involved in this study, explains: “We have reconstructed the organoid network in just one single cell and applied it to a completely new host molecule. There are many physiological factors that can transfer genes from organoid to real tissue, so the situation is risky.”
In addition to organoids, he added: “We also have evolved a network that permits us to grow the organoid network in the laboratory and that allows us to study enquiries of the intrinsic and extrinsic structure and growth, thus becoming co-regulatory architecture. So what can we do with it? We can see how organoid network scaffolds develop, showing that organoids can indeed sustain their function.”
“Compatibility as a human network.”
Although small and functional organs have various advantages, they have one major drawback: they can only survive for a short while inside the body. Not only this, but organs damaged and not filled with blood can also die. This is what organoids could improve – organoids could also replace organs that have been damaged.
For Professor Moeser’s team, this amounted to a massive feature. They succeeded in increasing the number of nerve cells in their organoids, and thereby improving their viability by activating the cells’ programmed cell death.