The esophagus is a muscular tube at the beginning of the gastrointestinal tract that actively facilitates the passing of food from the oral cavity and pharynx to the stomach. Tracheal and esophageal disorders are prevalent in humans and difficult to accurately model in mice due to substantial differences in tissue architecture.
Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM) established a esophageal organoid model through directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. To generate the organoids, several signaling pathways that guide differentiation and morphogenesis of the esophagus had to be recapitulated. Specifically, the sequential manipulation of bone morphogenic protein, Wnt, and retinoic acid signaling pathways was required to pattern and direct differentiation of PSCs specifically into esophagus.
These human esophageal organoids present a powerful platform for modeling human pathologies and tissue engineering. The article titled “Esophageal Organoids from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Delineate Sox2 Functions during Esophageal Specification” was published in Cell Stem Cell.