High power magnification of a neuronal network in a BENO. Axons are highlighted by staining of Neurofilament protein in green, glutamatergic neurons by staining of the Vesicular Glutamate Transporter protein in red and nuclei labelled in blue. The study by Zafeiriou et al. demonstrated for the first time that functional neuronal networks with properties of the human brain can be bioengineered from induced pluripotent stem cells at the macroscopic tissue scale. Network formation is key for normal brain function, including learning, and is compromised in disease such as epilepsia, dementia, or stroke. Figures from Zafeiriou et al. (2020) GABA polarity switch and neuronal plasticity in Bioengineered Neuronal Organoids. Nat Commun, 11, 3791.

Generation of human brain organoids with the ability to learn

Stem cell technologies are revolutionizing the biomedical field. Scientists at the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) in collaboration with research partners of the Cluster of Excellence “Multiscale Bioimaging” (MBExC) and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease (DZNE) combined induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and their deep knowledge in the bioengineering of human organoids to for the first time bioengineer the human brain at the macroscale level with comprehensive network function. The so called Bioengineered Neuronal Organoids (BENOs) recapitulate important morphological features of the human brain and functions underlying memory and learning. The study has been published in Nature Communications.

Link to the press release