Recently researchers used an organ-on-a-chip model to study the interaction between human blood vessel tissue and brain tissue derived from human stem cells. They discovered that the blood vessel tissue can activate genes to direct the development and maturation of spinal cord tissue.
This study offers insights into how spinal cord tissues develop and offers an experimental model to study diseases affected by defects in motion-controlling brain cells, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) / Lou Gehrig’s disease.
In contrast to similar experiments conducted with cell culture dishes, the use of organs-on-chips produced results closer to that observed within internal biological microenvironments or in vivo.
Sances S, Ho R, Vatine G, West D, Laperle A, Meyer A, et al. Human iPSC-Derived Endothelial Cells and Microengineered Organ-Chip Enhance Neuronal Development. Stem Cell Reports. Published online March 22, 2018.