Organoids grown from amniotic fluid

For the first time, researchers have grown organoids — 3D bundles of cells that mimic tissue — directly from cells taken from ongoing pregnancies. The cells were extracted from amniotic fluid around growing fetuses between the 16th and 34th weeks of gestation during standard procedures independent of the study. The team grew organoids from three organs — the small intestines, kidneys and lungs — and also modelled congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a disorder where the diaphragm fails to develop correctly, using cells from samples affected by the disorder. Unlike organoids made from pluripotent stem cells, the amniotic fluid cells already have an organ identity. “There is no reprogramming, no manipulation,” says stem-cell biologist and study co-author Mattia Gerli, “we’re just allowing the cells to express their potential.”

Nature | 4 min read

Reference: Nature Medicine paper