3 years ago

Generation of hepato-biliary organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells

Fenfang Wu, Di Wu, Yong Ren, Yuhua Huang, Bo Feng, Nan Zhao, Taotao Zhang, Xiaoni Chen, Shangwu Chen, Anlong Xu

Publication date: Available online 7 January 2019

Source: Journal of Hepatology

Author(s): Fenfang Wu, Di Wu, Yong Ren, Yuhua Huang, Bo Feng, Nan Zhao, Taotao Zhang, Xiaoni Chen, Shangwu Chen, Anlong Xu

Background & Aims

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)-derived liver modeling systems have the potential to overcome the shortage of donors for clinical application and become a model for drug development. Although several strategies available to generate hepatic micro-tissues, few have succeeded in generating a liver organoid with hepato-biliary structure from hiPSCs.


At differentiation stages I and II (day 1-15), 25% of mTeSR culture medium was added to hepatic differentiation medium to induce endodermal and mesodermal commitment and thereafter hepatic and biliary co-differentiation. At Stage III (day 15-45), 10% cholesterol+ MIX were added into the maturation medium to promote the formation and maturation of the hepato-biliary organoids (HBO). Phenotypes and functions of organoids were determined by specific markers and multiple functional assays both in vitro and in vivo.


In this system, hiPSC was induced to 3D hepato-biliary organoids and to some extent recapitulated key aspects of early hepatogenesis in a parallel fashion. The organoids displayed a series of functional attributes. Specifically, the induced hepatocyte-like cells could uptake ICG, accumulate lipid and glycogen, and displayed appropriate secretion ability (ALB and urea) and drug metabolic ability (CYP3A4 activity and inducibility); the biliary structures in the system showed GGT activity and the ability to efflux rhodamine and store bile acid. Furthermore, after transplantation into the immune-deficient mice, the organoids survived for more than 8 weeks.


This is the first time that functional hepato-biliary organoids have been generated from hiPSCs. The organoid model will be useful for in vitro studies of the molecular mechanisms of liver development and has important potential in the therapy of liver diseases.

Lay summary

Herein, we established a system to in vitro generate hiPSC-derived functional hepato-biliary organoids without any exogenous cells or DNA transfections. This model to some extent recapitulated several key aspects of hepato-biliary organogenesis in a parallel fashion, holding great promise for drug developmental research and liver transplantation.

Graphical abstract

Graphical abstract for this article

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.