[Ader M, Tanaka EM. Modeling human development in 3D culture. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2014 Jul 14;31C:23-28.]
Recently human embryonic stem cell research has taken on a new dimension – the third dimension. Capitalizing on increasing knowledge on directing pluripotent cells along different lineages, combined with ECM supported three-dimensional culture conditions, it has become possible to generate highly organized tissues of the central nervous system, gut, liver and kidney. Each system has been used to study different aspects of organogenesis and function including physical forces underlying optic cup morphogenesis, the function of disease related genes in progenitor cell control, as well as interaction of the generated tissues with host tissue upon transplantation. Pluripotent stem cell derived organoids represent powerful systems for the study of how cells self-organize to generate tissues with a given shape, pattern and form.