Scientists grow human esophagus in lab
Scientists working to bioengineer the entire human gastrointestinal system in a laboratory now report using pluripotent stem cells to grow human esophageal organoids.
Published in the journal Cell Stem Cell the study is the latest advancement from researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM). The center is developing new ways to study birth defects and diseases that affect millions of people with gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastric reflux, cancer, etc. The work is leading to new personalized diagnostic methods and focused in part on developing regenerative tissue therapies to treat or cure GI disorders.
The research may lead to personalized diagnostic methods and focused in part on developing regenerative tissue therapies to treat or cure GI disorders.
In addition to being a new model to study birth defects like esophageal atresia, the organoids can be used to study diseases like eosinophilic esophagitis and Barrett’s metaplasia, or to bioengineer genetically matched esophageal tissue for individual patients.
What is Oesophagus?
- The esophagus is a muscular tube that actively passes food from the mouth to the stomach.
- It is also called as gastrointestinal tract (GI tract or gullet or food pipe).
- There are a number of lymph nodes close to the esophagus.
The esophagus has four layers:
- The mucosa – the inner layer, which is moist to help food pass smoothly into the stomach.
- The submucosa – this contains glands that produce mucus (phlegm), which keeps the esophagus moist.
- The muscular – the muscle layer, which pushes food down to the stomach.
- The adventitia – the outer layer, which attaches the esophagus to nearby parts of the body.
The organ can be affected by congenital diseases, such as oesophageal atresia — a narrowing or malformation of the esophagus caused by genetic mutations.
There are several diseases that can afflict people later in life. Some include oesophageal cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or a rare ailment called achalasia — a disease affecting the muscles of the lower esophagus that prevents contraction of the organ and the passage of food.