Getting closer to modeling the gut-brain axis using induced pluripotent stem cells

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The gut microbiome (GM), the gut barrier, and the blood-brain barrier (BBB) are key elements of the gut-brain axis (GBA). The advances in organ-on-a-chip and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSCs) technology might enable more physiological gut-brain-axis-on-a-chip models. The ability to mimic complex physiological functions of the GBA is needed in basic mechanistic research as well as disease research of psychiatric, neurodevelopmental, functional, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. These brain disorders have been associated with GM dysbiosis, which may affect the brain via the GBA. Although animal models have paved the way for the breakthroughs and progression in the understanding of the GBA, the fundamental questions of exactly when, how, and why still remain unanswered. The research of the complex GBA have relied on equally complex animal models, but today’s ethical knowledge and responsibilities demand interdisciplinary development of non-animal models to study such systems. In this review we briefly describe the gut barrier and BBB, provide an overview of current cell models, and discuss the use of iPSCs in these GBA elements. We highlight the perspectives of producing GBA chips using iPSCs and the challenges that remain in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1146062
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2023

ID: 341014911