Humanized cerebral organoids-based ischemic stroke model for discovering of potential anti-stroke agents

Shu-na Wang1, Zhi Wang1, Xi-yuan Wang1, Xiu-ping Zhang1, Tian-ying Xu1,2, Chao-yu Miao1
1 Department of Pharmacology, Second Military Medical University/Naval Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China
2 Department of Anesthesia Pharmacology, Second Military Medical University/Naval Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China
Correspondence to: Tian-ying Xu:, Chao-yu Miao:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-022-00986-4
Received: 13 June 2022
Accepted: 19 August 2022
Advance online: 13 September 2022


Establishing a stoke experimental model, which is better in line with the physiology and function of human brain, is the bottleneck for the development of effective anti-stroke drugs. A three-dimensional cerebral organoids (COs) from human pluripotent stem cells can mimic cell composition, cortical structure, brain neural connectivity and epigenetic genomics of in-vivo human brain, which provides a promising application in establishing humanized ischemic stroke model. COs have been used for modeling low oxygen condition-induced hypoxic injury, but there is no report on the changes of COs in response to in vitro oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD)-induced damage of ischemic stroke as well as its application in testing anti-stroke drugs. In this study we compared the cell composition of COs at different culture time and explored the cell types, cell ratios and volume size of COs at 85 days (85 d-CO). The 85 d-CO with diameter more than 2 mm was chosen for establishing humanized ischemic stroke model of OGD. By determining the time-injury relationship of the model, we observed aggravated ischemic injury of COs with OGD exposure time, obtaining first-hand evidence for the damage degree of COs under different OGD condition. The sensitivity of the model to ischemic injury and related treatment was validated by the proven pan-Caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK (20 μM) and Bcl-2 inhibitor navitoclax (0.5 μM). Neuroprotective agents edaravone, butylphthalide, P7C3-A20 and ZL006 (10 μM for each) exerted similar beneficial effects in this model. Taken together, this study establishes a humanized ischemic stroke model based on COs, and provides evidence as a new research platform for anti-stroke drug development.
Keywords: ischemic stroke; pluripotent stem cells; cerebral organoids; humanized model; neuroprotection

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