Using brain organoids to understand Zika virus-induced microcephaly

Xuyu Qian, Ha Nam Nguyen, Fadi Jacob, Hongjun Song, Guo Li Ming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Technologies to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells into threedimensional organized structures that resemble in vivo organs are pushing the frontiers of human disease modeling and drug development. In response to the global health emergency posed by the Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak, brain organoids engineered to mimic the developing human fetal brain have been employed to model ZIKV-induced microcephaly. Here, we discuss the advantages of brain organoids over other model systems to study development and highlight recent advances in understanding ZIKV pathophysiology and its underlying pathogenesis mechanisms. We further discuss perspectives on overcoming limitations of current organoid systems for their future use in ZIKV research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-957
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2017


  • Cortex
  • iPSC
  • Microcephaly
  • Organoids
  • Zika

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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