In a groundbreaking achievement, researchers have successfully connected lab-grown brain tissues to replicate the intricate networks found in the human brain. This innovative method involves linking “neural organoids” using axonal bundles, facilitating the exploration of interregional brain connections and their significance in human cognitive functions.

The interconnected organoids exhibited heightened activity patterns, showcasing the generation and synchronization of electrical activity similar to natural brain functions. This breakthrough not only enhances our comprehension of brain network development and plasticity but also paves the way for investigating neurological and psychiatric disorders, offering potential for more effective treatments.

Key Points:

  1. Researchers connected neural organoids using axonal bundles, achieving physiologically accurate connections akin to those in the human brain.
  2. This connection method enabled the observation of complex activity patterns and plasticity in the organoids, promising insights into brain functions and disorders.
  3. The study marks a significant advancement in creating functional brain-like tissues in the lab, providing a valuable tool for understanding human brain networks and their implications in health and disease.

Source: University of Tokyo

The notion of cultivating functioning human brain-like tissues in a laboratory setting has long seemed like a distant concept, even to experts in the field. However, a collaborative effort between Japanese and French researchers has resulted in a technique for connecting lab-grown brain-mimicking tissues in a manner reminiscent of circuits in the human brain.

Understanding the intricate mechanisms of brain development and functions has posed significant challenges. Animal studies have limitations due to species differences in brain structure and function, while lab-grown brain cells often lack the characteristic connections found in the human brain. Recognizing the importance of interregional connections and circuits in human brain functions, researchers have endeavored to create brain circuits under controlled laboratory conditions, advancing the field.

Researchers at The University of Tokyo have devised a method to establish more physiological connections between lab-grown neural organoids, experimental model tissues derived from human stem cells. By linking the organoids through axonal bundles, similar to natural brain regions, the team observed complex activity patterns and synchronization between the interconnected organoids, resembling connections between brain regions.

The interconnected organoids exhibited heightened activity compared to single organoids or those connected using previous techniques. Additionally, optogenetic stimulation of the axonal bundles induced changes in organoid activity, demonstrating short-term plasticity, a crucial aspect of brain function.

These findings underscore the importance of axonal bundle connections in developing complex networks responsible for profound brain functions such as language, attention, and emotion. As alterations in brain networks are associated with various neurological and psychiatric conditions, a deeper understanding of brain circuits could lead to improved treatments. The ability to study lab-grown human neural circuits offers insights into the formation and dynamics of these networks, contributing to advancements in brain research and therapeutic interventions.

By Impact Lab