Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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BPoD is 5

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Stomach Upset
06 March 2017

Stomach Upset

Figuring out how vital organs like the stomach first develop is a struggle – it’s difficult to watch cells knitting together in the womb. One alternative is this stomach 'organoid', a living model grown from human stem cells. Early in life, our stomachs developed the fundus – an area which produces acids and enzymes required for digestion. Proteins called Wnt and β-catenin usually switch on or off inside early stomach cells to guide development – disrupting them in this fundus organoid reveals catastrophic effects (pictured). Shown with its cells artificially coloured, the organoid has very few green-coloured acid-producing cells, and the pink-red cells are developing more like tissue characteristic of a different part of the stomach. Using organoids to mimic different stomach regions, together with intestinal organoids, may allow scientists to recreate the early digestive system, and look for clues about a range of developmental disorders.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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