To investigate the effects of SARS CoV-2 on children, mini-stomach organoids could possibly be used
The team, led from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (UCL GOS ICH) and HTML0, which is part ofthe Istituto Zooprofilattico delle Venezie (Legnaro, Italy), have developed recent advances to grow ‘mini-organs in a laboratory known as organoids. Organoids provide researchers with valuable tools to study the function of organs when they are healthy as well as when they are affected by illness.
The study, published in Nature Communications by scientists, describes how to make mini-organoids of the stomach at various stages of development, including fetal, child, and adult.
To do this researchers isolated stem cells from patient stomachs, and then grow under specific conditions in the laboratory to create mini-stomachs in a dish that mimic the behavior of the human stomach.
As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed many hospitals experienced gastrointestinal symptoms alongside the more typical respiratory symptoms like breathing problems and coughs especially in children. In the wake of these cases, the research team, led by Dr. Giovanni Giuseppe Giobbe, Prof. Nicola Elvassore and Prof. Paolo De Coppi from UCL GOS ICH, and Dr Francesco Bonfante from Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie and Dr. Francesco Bonfante from Istituto Zooprofilattico Sper that their model of the stomach could be used to study how SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts the stomach.
The researchers were able aid in the spread of the mini-stomachs outside by exposing the exterior of the cells to the virus. From this they showed that SARS-CoV-2 can replicate inside the stomach, and more specifically in organoids that were derived from late fetal cells as compared to early and adult fetal cells.
The research team was also capable of analyzing the effects of the infection on the cells in the organoids. They discovered that a particular type of cell called delta cells, which make Somatostatin, a hormone that is produced by the body, had died. This could explain some of patients’ stomach-related symptoms. The lab results of the team resemble the pattern of gastrointestinal symptoms observed in patients of various stages of.
NIHR Professor Paolo De Coppi (GOSH Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, UCL GOS ICH Nuffield Professor of Paediatric Surgery) said
“This study has demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 could affect the stomach of infants and children. We hope that this adds an additional piece to the puzzle as we try to build our understanding of the impact of the virus on the body.
“As researchers we are extremely happy to be a part of the global fight against coronavirus. We pivot our research as needed.” ”
The team will continue their studies using these tiny stomachs. They would like to understand the development of the stomach during pregnancy and adulthood. They also plan to examine the effects of other digestive infections.
Dr Giovanni G. Giobbe, UCL GOS ICH Senior Research Associate and co-lead writer on the study says:
“We have been able to develop the first fetal model of the stomach and have shown that human gastric organoids can be used to accurately study real-world infections. Making reliable models of organs that researchers and doctors can study in a lab is essential because they enable us to figure out how organ tissue is affected by disease and infection. We would like to improve our understanding of how infections impact stomachs so that we can enhance the search for new treatments. ”
This research was conducted in large part by the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children and all research at Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is supported by the National Institute for Health Research Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre.
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