Zafeiriou MP, Bao G, Hudson J, Halder R, Blenkle A, Schreiber MK, Fischer A, Schild D, Zimmermann WH
Nat Commun 11, 3791 (2020).
Brain organoids are promising tools for disease modeling and drug development. For proper neuronal network formation excitatory and inhibitory neurons as well as glia need to co-develop. Here, we report the directed self-organization of human induced pluripotent stem cells in a collagen hydrogel towards a highly interconnected neuronal network at a macroscale tissue format. Bioengineered Neuronal Organoids (BENOs) comprise interconnected excitatory and inhibitory neurons with supportive astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Giant depolarizing potential (GDP)-like events observed in early BENO cultures mimic early network activity of the fetal brain. The observed GABA polarity switch and reduced GDPs in >40 day BENO indicate progressive neuronal network maturation. BENOs demonstrate expedited complex network burst development after two months and evidence for long-term potentiation. The similarity of structural and functional properties to the fetal brain may allow for the application of BENOs in studies of neuronal plasticity and modeling of disease.