Brain circuits are bridged with a lab

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Summary: Researchers successfully connected lab-grown brain tissues, mimicking the complex networks found in the human brain.
This novel method involves linking “neural organoids” with axonal bundles, enabling the study of interregional brain connections and their role in human cognitive functions.
The connected organoids exhibited more sophisticated activity patterns, demonstrating both the generation and synchronization of electrical activity akin to natural brain functions.
Key Facts: The research team linked neural organoids using axonal bundles, achieving more physiologically accurate connections that mirror those in the human brain.
This connection method allowed for the observation of complex activity patterns and plasticity in the organoids, showing promise for studying brain functions and disorders.
The study represents a significant step forward in creating functional brain-like tissues in the lab, providing a powerful tool for understanding human brain networks and their implications in health and disease.
Animal studies are limited by differences between species in brain structure and function, and brain cells grown in the lab tend to lack the characteristic connections of cells in the human brain.
What’s more, researchers are increasingly realizing that these interregional connections, and the circuits that they create, are important for many of the brain functions that define us as humans.


In order to replicate the intricate networks seen in the human brain, researchers were able to link brain tissues that were grown in a lab. By attaching “neural organoids” to axonal bundles, this innovative technique makes it possible to investigate interregional brain connections and how they relate to human cognitive processes.

The linked organoids showed more complex activity patterns, generating and coordinating electrical activity similar to what is seen in the brain. This discovery offers hope for more potent treatments by expanding our knowledge of brain network development and plasticity and by creating new research opportunities in the fields of neurology and psychiatry.

Important Information:.

By employing axonal bundles to connect neural organoids, the research team was able to create connections that are more physiologically accurate and resemble those found in the human brain.

Complex activity patterns and plasticity in the organoids were observed thanks to this connection method, which holds potential for research into brain diseases and functions.

The work offers a valuable tool for comprehending human brain networks and their relevance to health and disease, marking a substantial advancement in the creation of functional brain-like tissues in the laboratory.

The University of Tokyo is the source.

Even for scientists studying the subject, the concept of cultivating human brain-like tissues in a dish has always seemed rather unrealistic. A research team from France and Japan has created a method for joining lab-grown brain-mimicking tissue in a manner that mimics brain circuits in order to move closer to this ultimate goal.

The precise processes underlying brain development and function are difficult to study. Because brain structure and function vary among species, research on animals is limited. Additionally, brain cells cultured in a lab typically lack the unique connections found in human brain cells.

Furthermore, a growing number of researchers are realizing the significance of these interregional connections and the circuits they form for numerous brain functions that characterize human identity.

The field has advanced because of earlier research that attempted to build brain circuits in a lab setting.

In an effort to improve the physiological connections among lab-grown “neural organoids,” or experimental model tissues where human stem cells are cultured into three-dimensional developmental brain-like structures, researchers from The University of Tokyo have recently discovered a method to do so.

Using axonal bundles, which are comparable to the connections between regions in a living human brain, the team was able to connect the organoids in this way.

According to Tomoya Duenki, co-lead author of the study, “in single-neural organoids grown under laboratory conditions, the cells start to display relatively simple electrical activity.”.

We were able to observe how these bidirectional connections helped to create and synchronize activity patterns between the neural organoids when we connected them with axonal bundles, demonstrating some similarities to connections between two brain regions. “.

Compared to single organoids or those connected using earlier methods, the cerebral organoids that were connected with axonal bundles displayed more complex activity.

Furthermore, in a process known as plasticity, the organoids were impacted by the changes in organoid activity that resulted from the research team’s use of an optogenetics technique to stimulate the axonal bundles.

“These results imply that axonal bundle connections are critical for the development of complex networks,” says study senior author Yoshiho Ikeuchi.

Interestingly, a wide range of deep cognitive processes, including language, emotion, and attention, are controlled by intricate brain networks. “.

Gaining more knowledge about brain networks is crucial because changes in brain networks have been linked to a number of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Studying human neural circuits grown in a lab will advance our understanding of how these networks form and evolve under various conditions, potentially leading to better treatments.

Concerning this news about neuroscience research.

Writer: Ikeuchi Yoshiho.

University of Tokyo is the source.

University of Tokyo / Yoshiho Ikeuchi, contact.

Image: The University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science is credited with creating this image.

Original Study: A publicly accessible resource.

Tomoya Duenki et al.’s article “Complex Activity and Short-Term Plasticity of Human Cerebral Organoids Reciprocally Connected with Axons”. Natural Communications.


Interaction between Human Cerebral Organoids and Axons: Complex Activity and Short-Term Plasticity.

One of the basic structural patterns that unifies neural circuits to coordinate and produce the intricate functions of the human brain is an inter-regional cortical tract.

We studied an in vitro neural tissue model for inter-regional connections, in which two cerebral organoids are connected by a bundle of reciprocally extended axons, in order to appreciate the mechanistic significance of inter-regional projections on the development of neural circuits.

Compared to conventional or directly fused cerebral organoids, the connected organoids exhibited more complex and intense oscillatory activity, indicating that the inter-organoid axonal connections support and enhance the complex network activity.

Furthermore, strong short-term plasticity of the macroscopic circuit could be induced by optogenetic stimulation of the inter-organoid axon bundles, thereby entraining the activity of the organoids.

These findings showed that the organoid circuits’ functionality may be enhanced by the projection axons acting as a structural hub.

The development and operations of macroscopic neuronal circuits in vitro may be better understood with the help of this model.

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