Brain-Region-Specific Organoids Using Mini-bioreactors for Modeling ZIKV Exposure

Xuyu Qian, Ha Nam Nguyen, Mingxi M. Song, Christopher Hadiono, Sarah C. Ogden, Christy Hammack, Bing Yao, Gregory R. Hamersky, Fadi Jacob, Chun Zhong, Ki Jun Yoon, William Jeang, Li Lin, Yujing Li, Jai Thakor, Daniel A. Berg, Ce Zhang, Eunchai Kang, Michael Chickering, David NauenCheng Ying Ho, Zhexing Wen, Kimberly M. Christian, Pei Yong Shi, Brady J. Maher, Hao Wu, Peng Jin, Hengli Tang, Hongjun Song, Guo Li Ming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

846 Scopus citations


Cerebral organoids, three-dimensional cultures that model organogenesis, provide a new platform to investigate human brain development. High cost, variability, and tissue heterogeneity limit their broad applications. Here, we developed a miniaturized spinning bioreactor (SpinΩ) to generate forebrain-specific organoids from human iPSCs. These organoids recapitulate key features of human cortical development, including progenitor zone organization, neurogenesis, gene expression, and, notably, a distinct human-specific outer radial glia cell layer. We also developed protocols for midbrain and hypothalamic organoids. Finally, we employed the forebrain organoid platform to model Zika virus (ZIKV) exposure. Quantitative analyses revealed preferential, productive infection of neural progenitors with either African or Asian ZIKV strains. ZIKV infection leads to increased cell death and reduced proliferation, resulting in decreased neuronal cell-layer volume resembling microcephaly. Together, our brain-region-specific organoids and SpinΩ provide an accessible and versatile platform for modeling human brain development and disease and for compound testing, including potential ZIKV antiviral drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1238-1254
Number of pages17
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 19 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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