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Making Perfect Copies

Molecule called IL-22 required for Paneth cell formation in gut organoids

13 October 2022

Making Perfect Copies

Organoids, or ‘mini-organs’, have become a common way to try and understand how organs and tissues function in a lab setting. Several organoids are available which mimic different organs, but many fall short of replicating the original exactly. That's the case for intestinal organoids – where some important cell types are absent. For example, Paneth cells, important for preventing infections, are missing or rare. Researchers have now optimised how to make intestinal organoids (pictured) so they appear and function even more like a human gut. By adding a molecule called interleukin-22 to the organoids, Paneth cells (red) were activated alongside other key cell types of the gut, like endocrine cells (magenta) and goblet cells (green). These optimised organoids more closely mimic a healthy intestine and provide an even better way to study and understand how the gut functions properly, and what happens when things go wrong.

Written by Sophie Arthur

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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