Use of human tissue stem cell-derived organoid cultures to model enterohepatic circulation

Sarah E. Blutt, Sue E. Crawford, Carolyn Bomidi, Xi Lei Zeng, James R. Broughman, Matthew Robertson, Cristian Coarfa, Mary Elizabeth M. Tessier, Tor Savidge, F. Blaine Hollinger, Steven A. Curley, Mark Donowitz, Mary K. Estes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of human tissue stem cell-derived organoids has advanced our knowledge of human physiological and pathophysiological processes that are unable to be studied using other model systems. Increased understanding of human epithelial tissues including intestine, stomach, liver, pancreas, lung, and brain have been achieved using organoids. However, it is not yet clear whether these cultures recapitulate in vivo organ-to-organ signaling or communication. In this work, we demonstrate that mature stem cell-derived intestinal and liver organoid cultures each express functional molecules that modulate bile acid uptake and recycling. These organoid cultures can be physically coupled in a Transwell system and display increased secretion of fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) (intestine) and downregulation of P450 enzyme cholesterol 7 a-hydroxylase (CYP7A) (liver) in response to apical exposure of the intestine to bile acids. This work establishes that organoid cultures can be used to study and therapeutically modulate interorgan interactions and advance the development of personalized approaches to medical care. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Interorgan signaling is a critical feature of human biology and physiology, yet has remained difficult to study due to the lack of in vitro models. Here, we demonstrate that physical coupling of ex vivo human intestine and liver epithelial organoid cultures recapitulates in vivo interorgan bile acid signaling. These results suggest that coupling of multiple organoid systems provides new models to investigate interorgan communication and advances our knowledge of human physiological and pathophysiological processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G270-G279
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Bile
  • FGF19
  • Intestine
  • Liver
  • Organoid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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