Brain tissue grown in the laboratory for the first time spontaneously demonstrated electrical activity, surprisingly similar to the activity of the human brain. More specifically, about the brain activity of an early baby. The research report was presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Neurologists and published in a biographical biography database.
These organelles are three-dimensional, miniature, simplified versions of organisms that are grown in a research laboratory, such as drug reactions or cell development under certain adverse conditions.
Neurobiologist Ellison Mootri has been developing brain organs for several years in his laboratory at the University of California in San Diego, but this is the first time he and his colleagues have detected activity similar to that of the human brain.
The organisms in question are grown from pluripotent stem cells. They induced these "developmental forms" in the cells that make up the cerebral cortex – the section responsible for many important things like memory, perception, cognitive abilities, thoughts, and sensory processing.
Hundreds of these brains are reared for 10 months. During this period, they were tested to ensure that genes are necessary in their development. The researchers also continuously monitor organelles using an electroencephalogram (EEG).
In about six months, according to Nature, the "mini-brain" showed strong brain activity. The analysis showed that it is not as organized and predictable as an adult adult brain activity. However, with its chaotic, synchronized bursts, the phenomenon resembles the brain activity seen in premature babies.
Despite the fact that it is not identical, the machine learning model, trained for EEG signatures of premature babies, could identify many similar properties with a normal development schedule. It seems that over the past 28 weeks, the organoid development trajectory corresponds to the development of an early baby of the same age.
These cerebral organelles are not completely similar to the parts of the real human brain: they are not only smaller and simpler – they do not have other parts of the brain with which to connect. They are developed with an inadequate amount of proteins required for normal nerve function. However, the mini-brain may be a step towards a better understanding of the development of the brain.
"Although we do not insist on functional equivalence between organoids and the whole brain of a newborn," the researchers wrote, "the current results are a step forward to an artificial model that reflects some complex oscillatory dynamics of the human brain."
The researchers will continue to develop "mini-brains" to find out whether they will "grow."