About this Research Topic
In the last few years, 3D cell cultures have gained importance in neuroscience field, because 3D models allow to better understand the cytoarchitecture of the brain and neurodegenerative disease mechanisms. Moreover, 3D cell cultures can result in a large diversity of cell types, allowing the study of cell-cell interactions between different populations. The main application for such 3D models is the study of neurodevelopmental disorders, but they can be used also as useful tool for neurodegenerative disease mechanisms studies and drug screening. More recently, 3D cell cultures were exploited to generate a model of brain tumors, in order to investigate new potential treatments. Usually, 3D brain organoids are obtained differentiating iPSCs into neural cell in ultra-low attachment conditions, such as bioreactor. Lancaster and colleagues were the first to generate and to characterize what they called “mini-brains”, providing an innovative method to generate brain organoids. As all the other disease models, also brain organoids have some limits, because they cannot recapitulate entirely human disorders. Indeed, 3D brain organoids have a very limited reproducibility, in particular 3D organoids which aim to mimic later stages of development, such as neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, iPSCs can generate very different proportion of cells resulting in non-identical models. Thus, it will be fundamental to use biomaterials that can mimic the physiological brain niche. The field of brain organoids is just at the beginning of its stage, but future studies may allow to advance such techniques for modelling all neural-related disorders, thus helping to elucidate novel aspects of the pathogenesis and to generate an innovative reliable drug screening platform.
This Research Topic welcomes original research papers and reviews from all scientists working in the new field of brain organoids and 3D neural cultures, including cell biologists, biomaterials chemists, bioengineers, and all the researchers that work in this field. Submissions can focus on brain organoids generation methods and characterization, but also on the use of such models to study disease mechanisms. Commentaries on the future directions of brain organoids are also welcomed.
This topic has been realized in collaboration with Dr. Matteo Bordoni, Post Doctoral Researcher at the IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy (ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9461-756X).
Keywords: brain, organoids, disease modeling, neurodegenerative diseases, neuroscience
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