Friday, 29 October 2021 11:21

Stress research with cerebral organoids Featured

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry led by Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Binder have shown that cerebral organoids are a suitable model system to study how stress affects human brain development.

The mother's stress has a negative impact on the developing brain of the fetus which can lead to later mental illnesses such as depression in the offspring.

For their studies, the science team used human adult cells of both sexes and converted them into pluripotent stem cells, which in turn were further developed into brain organoids containing neurons, neural progenitor cells, and non-neural progenitor cells. The brain organoids were then treated with a synthetic glucocorticoid (dexamethasone) to simulate negative environmental effects in the cell culture dish.

The team found that the stress hormone altered the readout of neuron-specific genes, thereby affecting neuronal maturation of neurons in brain organoids, further that it resulted in an activation of genes associated with various mental illnesses such as depression.

Original publication:
Cristiana Cruceanu et al (2021). Cell-Type-Specific Impact of Glucocorticoid Receptor Activation on the Developing Brain: A Cerebral Organoid Study; American Journal of Psychiatry; Published Online: 26 Oct 2021,