Artificially created a rudimentary brain with eyes

Artificially created a rudimentary brain with eyes

Recently, an international team of researchers affirms that they have managed to develop in the laboratory, once again, a mass of tissues very similar to a brain, capable, however, this time, of autonomously producing two symmetrical "optical cups", capable of react to light stimuli just as a pair of eyes would.

Brain Organoid with Optical Cups

To create these "organoids", the researchers used pluripotent stem cells, so named because of their ability to create by themselves a multitude of cells that occur naturally in the human body. The fact of having managed to recreate a cellular structure that can be traced back in some way to a brain, allows the research to open up possibilities so far only imagined, with medical applications that could really make a difference. Stem cell therapies have already been able to restore the damaged olfactory system in mice. Think about the therapeutic use of a future technique capable of reconstructing brain cells!

According to Jay Gopalakrishnan, a biologist at the University Hospital of Dusseldorf, the experiment highlights the remarkable ability of brain organoids to generate structures primitive sensory sensitive to light and which host cell types very similar to those found in our body. These organoids, Gopalakrishnan continues, can help study brain-eye interactions during embryo development, model congenital retinal disorders, and generate patient-specific retinal cell types for personalized drug testing and transplant therapies.

The day after the experiment began, the stem cells appeared simply as a set of disconnected points. After ten days, they had already formed a neurosphere, which is a mass of cellular tissue. After a month, the organoid had developed a primordial ocular field, that is, a group of retinal cells which are then the "basis" for more complex ocular structures. Two months after the start of the experiment, however, real full optical vesicles were formed, basically a real pair of eyes connected to the brain.

Of all the cultures monitored by the researchers, only 30% did not generate this type of result, thus confirming the absolute success of the experiment which, we repeat, demonstrates the importance and usefulness of stem cell research. If you are interested in learning more about it, we recommend the book What are stem cells, available at this Amazon link.

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