A new study analyzing the growth of lab-grown brain organoids has found significant similarities in the growth of the human brain in early growth.
Growing simplified, miniature versions of human brains in the lab can give researchers a very important model to study psychological research and how the disease attaches itself to this amazingly complex organ, and we have just seen how these organoids share the same truth. Scientists have conducted an initial analysis of the 20-month-old lobster-like species to find that they have grown as much as the human brain, following an internal clock that directs their growth.
Brain organoids enlarged by labs are increasingly becoming a research tool, giving scientists a platform to study diseases such as epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia, or to test the effects of psychedelic drugs on various proteins. Scientists have also seen how these organoids can produce blood vessels, and provide electrical signals similar to those of the prenatal brain, and specify how they can create features similar to that of the human brain.
It all starts with the production of stimulant cells, which are joined by certain chemicals that make them grow into various brain cells. This sees them interact with duplicate 3D frames located in the brain, and while this doesn't result in consciousness, the structure plays to capture the electrical signals moving in the same direction as they do in the human brain.
In this novel study, scientists at Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles have amplified these organoids in laboratory containers over a 20-month period. Researchers then used genetic analysis to investigate the extent of the development, finding that these tiny brain labs reach maturity in 250 to 300 days, “the same timeline as in vivo development."
"We show that these 3D brain cells follow an internal clock, which continues in the lab space similar to what happens inside the body," said the first study author, Aaron Gordon. "These findings are astounding - we show that they reached maturity after birth about 280 days in the culture, and then began to show features in the baby's brain, including known physiological changes in the neurotransmitter signature."
The reason why these findings are so important is that to date, a common view around the lab- grown brains is that cells do not normally grow at the same rate as babies. This type of research therefore raises prospects for a rich brain one day to grow and develop, which will open up completely new scientific ways to learn about diseases that start in adults, such as schizophrenia and dementia.