Subjecting organoids to the forces of flowing fluid instigates vessel growth and makes the models ever more life-like
Organoids – mini lab-grown versions of organs – have revolutionised research into cell and tissue biology, whether for the study of development, disease, or responses to drugs. But, organoids have their limitations when it comes to recapitulating the real things. Most notably, they lack blood vessels. Therefore, the development of highly vascularised kidney organoids – like the one pictured – represents a major step forward in organoid research. To instigate the growth of blood vessels in the mini kidneys, researchers subjected the developing organoids to fluidic shear stress – the force exerted by a flowing fluid – which is known to be important for proper vascular development within a growing embryo. Sure enough, it worked, producing a network of capillary-like structures as the organoids grew. Moreover, the improved supply of oxygen and nutrients within the organoids improved the development of their glomeruli – filtration units – such that they were more akin to those of real kidneys.
Written by Ruth Williams
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