Functional intestines are composed of cell types from all 3 primary germ layers and are generated through a highly orchestrated and serial developmental process. Directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) has been shown to yield gut-specific cell types; however, these structures do not reproduce critical functional interactions between cell types of different germ layers. Here, we developed a simple protocol for the generation of mature functional intestinal organoids from hPSCs under xenogeneic-free conditions. The stem cell–derived gut organoids produced here were found to contain distinct types of intestinal cells, including enterocytes, goblet cells, Paneth cells, and enteroendocrine cells, that were derived from all 3 germ layers; moreover, they demonstrated intestinal functions, including peptide absorption, and showed innervated bowel movements in response to stimulation with histamine and anticholinergic drugs. Importantly, the gut organoids obtained using this xenogeneic-free system could be stably maintained in culture for prolonged periods and were successfully engrafted in vivo. Our xenogeneic-free approach for generating gut organoids from hPSCs provides a platform for studying human intestinal diseases and for pharmacological testing.
Hajime Uchida, Masakazu Machida, Takumi Miura, Tomoyuki Kawasaki, Takuya Okazaki, Kengo Sasaki, Seisuke Sakamoto, Noriaki Ohuchi, Mureo Kasahara, Akihiro Umezawa, Hidenori Akutsu