Nature journal: Scientists grow human embryo nervous system living model for first time

February 29, 2024  10:40

Israeli researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science have for the first time created a living three-dimensional model of the human central nervous system in the laboratory at the earliest stage of its development.

The research was published in the scientific journal Nature.

Specialists have managed to recreate organoids similar to the brain and bone marrow of an 11-week-old human embryo. The process of growing the structures lasted 40 days.

The new model was created using human pluripotent stem cells, which can transform into any tissue of the body.

First, the stem cells were placed in a row about 4.39 centimeters long and 0.018 centimeters wide. It roughly corresponds to the shape and size of the neural tube, an early structure from which the brain and bone marrow develop.

The team then placed the cells in a “microfluidic” device, which contained many tiny channels. There, the biomaterials were exposed to various chemicals, forcing them to grow and form a three-dimensional structure.

According to these researchers, no one before them had managed to reproduce all three sections of the embryonic brain and bone marrow.

The team hopes that this model can be used to better understand microcephaly and other brain diseases that occur early in development.

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