Although global incidences of gastric disease have increased continually, there are limited adequate models for stomach study. Recently, scientists have generated human stomach tissue from pluripotent stem cell in vitro at Cincinnati Children Hospital Medical Center. It is called the fundus which produce stomach’s acid and digest hormones. They have successfully grown hormone producing tissues during two years and reported recently in Nature magazine.
The human stomach consists of many different tissues, all with specific functions. They differentiated human pluripotent stem cells into gastric organoids, named fundus by disrupting Wnt/β-catenin signaling which is one of major signaling pathways leading regulation of gene transduction. Abnormal acid production from this tissue can cause acid reflux disease whereas an infection with the bacteria H. Pylori can cause ulcers and inflammation. With new technique, we can better understand how stomach related drug effect using human derived actual live tissues in bench side.
Jim Wells, PhD, of the Pluripotent Stem Cell Facility at Cincinnati Children’s said that newly generated gastric tissues will allow us to study stomach related diseases and treatments in way that were previously impossible. And also he pointed out that now we can make antral and corpus/fundic-type human gastric mini-organs. It is important tool to study functions of stomach because researchers want to know that how they interact or how they respond differently to infection, injury and react to pharmacological treatment. “I would like to make these tissues better and more functional to be used in transplantation therapies”, Jim Wells added.
The ultimate goal for scientists who study organoid, for example artificial stomach tissue in this article, is to create a “human on a chip”. In human on chip, we can integrate all human tissues in one credit card-like chip which allow us to better understand drug effects to the body as a whole level efficiently.