If someone’s liver is so damaged that it can no longer operate as it should, a liver transplant might be the only option. But as donor organs are in short supply scientists in the world of regenerative medicine are addressing this problem by developing ways to use stem cells to replace and restore damaged tissue. Pictured is a liver organoid – a 3D organ-like mass of cells in culture – generated by coaxing stem cells to differentiate using precise molecular signalling. These types of organoids provide researchers with a ‘life-like’ experimental environment, allowing them to gain a more in-depth understanding of how the human liver develops. On this occasion, researchers used RNA sequencing to observe genes, signalling molecules and their receptors in order to monitor the molecular conversations that occur between developing liver cells and with their surrounding environment. These miniature organs could soon help with the treatment of liver diseases.
Written by Katie Panteli
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences 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.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.