Generation of iPSC-derived human forebrain organoids assembling bilateral eye primordia

Elke Gabriel, Walid Albanna, Giovanni Pasquini, Anand Ramani, Natasa Josipovic, Aruljothi Mariappan, Maria Giovanna Riparbelli, Giuliano Callaini, Celeste M. Karch, Olivier Goureau, Argyris Papantonis, Volker Busskamp, Toni Schneider, Jay Gopalakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived brain organoids enable the developmental complexities of the human brain to be deconstructed. During embryogenesis, optic vesicles (OVs), the eye primordium attached to the forebrain, develop from diencephalon. However, most 3D culturing methods generate either brain or retinal organoids individually. Here we describe a protocol to generate organoids with both forebrain entities, which we call OV-containing brain organoids (OVB organoids). In this protocol, we first induce neural differentiation (days 0–5) and collect neurospheres, which we culture in a neurosphere medium to initiate their patterning and further self-assembly (days 5–10). Then, upon transfer to spinner flasks containing OVB medium (days 10–30), neurospheres develop into forebrain organoids with one or two pigmented dots restricted to one pole, displaying forebrain entities of ventral and dorsal cortical progenitors and preoptic areas. Further long-term culture results in photosensitive OVB organoids constituting complementary cell types of OVs, including primitive corneal epithelial and lens-like cells, retinal pigment epithelia, retinal progenitor cells, axon-like projections and electrically active neuronal networks. OVB organoids provide a system to help dissect interorgan interactions between the OVs as sensory organs and the brain as a processing unit, and can help model early eye patterning defects, including congenital retinal dystrophy. To conduct the protocol, experience in sterile cell culture and maintenance of human induced pluripotent stem cells is essential; theoretical knowledge of brain development is advantageous. Furthermore, specialized expertise in 3D organoid culture and imaging for the analysis is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1893-1929
Number of pages37
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


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