Studies on the intestinal epithelial response to viral infection have previously been limited by the absence of in vitro human intestinal models that recapitulate the multicellular complexity of the gastrointestinal tract. Recent technological advances have led to the development of “mini-intestine” models, which mimic the diverse cellular nature and physiological activity of the small intestine. Utilizing adult or embryonic intestinal tissue, enteroid and organoid systems, respectively, represent an opportunity to effectively model cellular differentiation, proliferation, and interactions that are specific to the specialized environment of the intestine. Enteroid and organoid systems represent a significant advantage over traditional in vitro methods because they model the structure and function of the small intestine while also maintaining the genetic identity of the host. These more physiologic models also allow for novel approaches to investigate the interaction of enteric viruses with the gastrointestinal tract, making them ideal to study the complexities of host-pathogen interactions in this unique cellular environment. This review aims to provide a summary on the use of human enteroid and organoid systems as models to study virus pathogenesis.
- Intestinal stem cells