Artificial human bile ducts rebuild biliary tree in murine model

Human cholangiocytes organoids have been used in the reconstruction of the murine extrahepatic biliary tree.

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Jul 18, 2017

New research from Medical Research Council (MRC; London, UK) funded researchers at the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK) has shown that organoids grown from healthy human cholangiocytes will assemble themselves into bile duct-like structures when transplanted into a murine model. The research was recently published in Nature Medicine.

The organoids successfully grew in the murine model as well as on a collagen scaffold with both having bile duct-like structures. The organoids grown on the scaffold would be able to reconstruct the gallbladder wall and repair the biliary epithelium following transplantation into a murine model. The organoid grown in the murine model was able to rebuild the murine extrahepatic biliary tree.

“The capacity of these cholangiocyte organoids to grow successfully on biodegradable scaffolds, organize into functional cells and rescue bile duct function illustrates the power of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine,” commented study author Fotios Sampaziotis (MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge).

Bile duct disorders are the leading cause for liver transplantation in children. This research demonstrates that it is possible to generate artificial bile ducts that could be used as a treatment for these disorders.

“These research findings pave the way for exciting new regenerative medicine treatments for this life-threatening childhood liver disease. The approach to engineering replacement tissue is also likely to have impact for many other disorders. The long-term support provided to the stem cell institute by the MRC and Wellcome enables such scientific advances to flourish in an interdisciplinary environment that is geared towards the development work needed to bring health benefits to the community,” concluded Chief Science Officer Rob Buckle (MRC).

Sources: Sampaziotis F, Justin AW, Tysoe OC et al. Reconstruction of the mouse extrahepatic biliary tree using primary human extrahepatic cholangiocyte organoids. Nat. Med. doi: 10.1038/nm.4360 (2017) (Epub ahead of print);

Go to the profile of Adam Tarring

Adam Tarring

Commissioning editor, Future Science Group

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