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Animal Research - valuable for both humans and animals

The organoid research group of the Division for Internal Medicine Small Animals of the Vetmeduni has established a model that allows for the long-term cultivation of canine "mini-guts" in vitro. Taking biopsies from intestinal mucosa and isolating adult stem cells from this tissue allows for the cultivation of intestinal organoids in a three-dimensional way embedded in an extracellular matrix. The group also established hepatic organoids from dog liver as well as equine intestinal organoids in cooperation with the Institute of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Biophysics and equine hepatic organoids together with partners from Internal Medicine of Vetmeduni's equine clinic.

The medium for organoid cultivation contains many essential stimulants and inhibitors needed for organoid growth, which are supposed to reflect the environment of the stem cell niche in vivo. Maintaining the stem cell niche under controlled culture conditions allows for the almost indefinite expansion of intestinal organoids and the subsequent manipulation of the system by adapting various environmental factors, e.g. chemical components, co-cultures with other cells like immune cells, co-culture with (pathogenic) microorganisms or metobolic products thereof like bacterial toxins or extracellular vesicles.